THE FRIENDS OF MOUNT ATHOS

Autumn Meeting

There will be a meeting of the society in London on Wednesday 4 November 2015.

The meeting begins at 6.00 pm with a service of

Orthodox Vespers

in the church of St Dunstan in the West, 184 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HR.

After the service at about 7.00 pm there will be a glass of wine at the St Bride Foundation in Bride Lane, off Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ, followed by an address by:

Professor Veronica della Dora

who will give a talk entitled

A Pilgrim and Enlightener on the Holy Mountain:

Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij’s Journeys to Mount Athos 1725-1744

The Speaker

Veronica della Dora is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests and publications span historical and cultural geography with a specific focus on landscape, sacred space and the geographical imagination. She is the author of Imagining Mount Athos: Visions of a Holy Place from Homer to World War II (University of Virginia Press, 2011), Landscape, Nature and the Sacred in Byzantium (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in Feb. 2016) and Mountain (Reaktion, forthcoming in late 2016).

The Topic

Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij (1701-1747) visited the Holy Mountain twice. The first time, in 1725, he visited as a poor student and as a ‘pilgrim-in-becoming’ on his way to the Holy Land; the second time, on his way back to Kiev in 1744, he visited as an experienced traveller, as a Greek-speaking monastic, and as an accomplished scholar—in other words, as an Orthodox enlightener.

Self-enclosed microcosms, Athos’ monasteries provided Barskij with ideal subjects for his drawings. In the sketches accompanying the account of his second visit, the monastic buildings are captured from impossible vantage points, as well as through architectural plans illustrating the dynamics of liturgical performance and other aspects of monastic life.  These sketches and the accounts of the two visits provide us with an invaluable source of information on the life on Mount Athos in the first half of the eighteenth century.

There is no charge for attending this meeting, though there will be a plate for contributions towards expenses. Guests are warmly invited to attend.