The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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A Pilgrim's Guide
to Mount Athos

FoMA Travel Tips and Advisories: Bedbug Infestation

FoMA provides travel tips and issues travel advisories from time to time based on incoming information. This information is often unconfirmed or unconfirmable, but is reported in this form for your convenience.

The Friends of Mount Athos - A Pilgrim's Guide to Mount Athos - Advisory: Athoniki Office

2018 Bedbug Advisory Update

The FoMA Footpaths Team has followed up this Spring (May, 2018) on the reports of a bedbug infestation at the Megisti Lavra and potentially at other Athonite monasteries which we reported prior to the 2016 pilgrimage season. We are happy to report that the team at Megisti Lavra were not troubled by bedbugs. It also appears that the other monasteries are currently free of bedbugs.

Members of the footpaths team did, however, find that bedbugs were prevalent in one or more hotels in Ouranoupolis. Pilgrims are advised to take the precautions recommended in our earlier advisory while staying in Ouranoupolis. You may read the original Advisory, now invalidated for the Athonite monasteries, below.

2016-2017 Bedbug Advisory It has been reported to FoMA that there is currently a serious infestation of bedbugs at the guest house (arhondariki) of the Megisti Lavra. Several researchers and pilgrims who have stayed there since July of this year (2017) have brought the matter to our attention. One reported that within 15 minutes he was covered with bites, and that he had to sleep on his balcony to avoid further bites.

Pilgrims traveling on Mount Athos are therefore advised to take precautions. An internet search reveals a variety of remedies, including special bedcoverings and sprays, that may be helpful. You will also want to follow tips available on the internet to make sure that you are not carrying bedbugs to other monasteries or back to your home either on your person or in your clothing and luggage.

Header Image: Detail from a pilgrimage souvenir print produced for Philotheou Monastery in 1849. The detail depicts the arrival of the "pious pilgrims" on horseback, with the monastery on the left and two monks waiting to greet the arriving pilgrims.
Photograph by Robert W. Alllison, © 2011.
The original print bears the following inscription (in Greek):
This bronzeplate print of the Holy Monastery of Philotheou on the Holy Mountain of Athos was printed at the personal expense of Nikolas Emmanouel Chionakes of Crete for the salvation of his soul and those of his parents and kin, and it was dedicated freely for pious pilgrims.
Printed in Moscow on 4 August, 1849.