The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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Pilgrimage to the Metochia in France
14 – 17 June 2002

The Executive Committee invites members of the Friends (and their families and friends) to participate in a four-day pilgrimage to the two monastic dependencies of Simonopetra in southern France. The event, to take place from Friday 14 June to Monday 17 June 2002, will include visits to the male community of St Antony the Great at St-Laurent-en-Royans near Grenoble and to the convent of the Holy Protection near Avignon.

St Antony's, located in the Dauphiné in a deep and very beautiful valley of the Vercours, is built on the remains of an eleventh-century priory and its site resembles the abrupt and barren slopes of the Meteora. Recently the monastery's newly frescoed katholikon was consecrated to the memory of St Silouan the Athonite. Père Placide, the abbot, leads a community of 15 monks of different nationalities and backgrounds and is also the founder and spiritual father of the convent.

Holy Protection Monastery, at present comprising 20 nuns under Abbess Ipantia, was once the site of a seventeenth-century Benedictine house in Mas de Solan in the Gard region. It includes a large agricultural domain (20 hectares) and forest (40 hectares) where ‘agrobiotic farming’ – organic cultivation based on traditional farming methods– is practised. Assisted by ‘The Friends of Solan’, an association that gathers people of different backgrounds and religious traditions who are interested in what is being achieved at the monastery, the sisters produce jams, cheeses, olive oil, vegetables, and prize-winning wines.

Twenty places are being reserved (lunches and dinners in the monastic refectories).