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: Wolves

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

It is a well known fact that wolves migrate southward onto the Athonite peninsula in late fall and winter on the peninsula. Wolves have been known to attack and feed on mules in winter time even in close proximity to the monasteries, and are a potential threat to pilgrims. They can be heard howling during this time of the year in more remote forested areas and along the Way of the Bey (the ridge road).

Pilgrims traveling on Mount Athos during those months are therefore advised to take precautions, and expecially to make sure to arrive at a monastery or skiti in before the sunset closing of the gates.

On December 17, 2015 the following account confirming this advisory was sent in by a FoMA member to his membership secretary:

"Before, you had warned me in an e-mail 'that it is forbidden to spend the night outside because of wolves.' As circumstances dictated, I had to do just that. I spent the evening keeping a vigil down at the water front in an open sided storage building (so the night breeze was coming toward shore from the sea). At 1:30 A.M. I saw a wolf trot by 45 feet away. He couldn't smell or for that matter see me because of the direction of the breeze. Needless to say, this introduced new ferver into my vigil!"

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.