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Friday, June 13, 2014

Turks went to Mount Athos and described their experiences

See what's Ertuğrul Özkök said with excerpts from his article Hürriyet, which was published on June 8th, 2014. The author, along with the architect Ali Esad Göksel, visited and lived for three days in the "Garden of the Virgin" after authorization by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. "Like most Turks, I first heard about Mount Athos in the work 'Aynaroz Kadısı' of Musahipzade Celal. After I discovered it, I read enough and wanted time to go. Eventually I went with the help and the permission of the Patriarch of Fener Bartholomew (as called by Turks for propaganda purposes).

After Mecca, Yemen, Vatican and Bhutan, we are now at Mount Athos... at the "Garden of the Virgin"... Just after the boat carrying me and the architect Ali Esad Göksel turned, we saw the beautiful building on the hill. We have at hand the admission that was given to us by the Patriarchate of Fener. I also take my headphones from my bag and put music that I had arranged beforehand, Anna Netrebko singing 'Pie Jesu'. I feel happy that I did something that I dreamed for years, isolation on Mount Athos... I face the Dionysiou monastery; one of the most beautiful churches in this region in Greece called Mount Athos. We will live in this monastery for 3 days and 3 nights. From the moment you set foot on the land, you lose all contact with the world.

The boat leaves us and goes in two minutes. Waiting with our luggage, we don't see anyone greeting us. The monastery is at the end of a steep and long road. We had to start walking. Climbing with our heavy suitcases, within the first 10 meters we understood what ascetic life is. At that exact moment a voice saved us. Up there on balconies someone shouts: "Wait we are coming"

A little later we find before us a 4x4 van. Favored we finish with the passions of monasticism, at least until we get to the monastery. Inside two priests in black robes are sitting. One says "Welcome" in Turkish, so we met Father Gabriel who for three days will guide us and help us in everything... The vehicle climbs the steep hill and stops somewhere that looks like a castle gate, we get our luggage and we enter. The landscape reminds us of the series Game of Thrones.

 In the middle of the courtyard there is a church with walls painted in burgundy and white. We go next door and climb the stairs. Before we go to the room that we stay, we enter a parlor. They offer raki and lukumi. Our first impression: They aren't scary people like we were taught by young, those priests with the black beards. Instead, all of them treat us very friendly. Indeed, we feel that they were keen for this reason that we are Turks.

The first menu of the monks: Potatoes with eggs
Because we arrived a little late to the monastery, we couldn't watch the evening service. They prepared food and we eat within the menu of the monks, potatoes with eggs, olives, bread, tomato and an orange.

On 6 and half in the evening everything stops, so we go up to the room. Father Gabriel closes slowly the inner courtyard of the monastery and the heavy door separating our room from the outside space. The courtyard is at once immersed in silence.... Life ends early evening but starts very early in the morning. You wake up at 03.00 for the morning service".



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