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 Infestation Advisory .

View FoMA's advice, Avoiding Bedbugs

August 21, 2018. The bedbug infestation continues on Mount Athos and in Ouranoupolis.

On Mount Athos: FoMA is advised by a doctor traveling to Mount Athos in August 2018 that he personally experienced bedbugs at Grigoriou and the Skete St. Andrew in Karyes, and met with others who experienced the problem at Dionysiou about the same time. It is therefore very probable that bedbugs are an issue at many other monasteries as well, since they are transported from monastery to monastery by unaware pilgrims.
In Ouranoupolis: The same doctor reports that the problem in Ouranoupolis is worse, because some owners of lodgings there have not been willing to pay the cost of eradication. It should be noted that others are seriously concerned, to the point of treating guests, pilgrims and monks alike, with sprays to avoid spreading the infestation.

Previous Advisories
May, 2018. 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. The footpath team also observed that bedbug infestations are still active in several Ouranoupolis hotels.

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.

Avoiding Bedbugs

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.