(Registered Charity No. 1047287)

Newsletter No. 26: April 2016


We are sending you your copy of the Annual Report for 2015, which we hope you will enjoy reading.


The 2016 Summer Conference: Saturday 4 June at St Anne’s College, Oxford

Following the established pattern, the day will start with a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and the Annunciation (1 Canterbury Road, Oxford OX2 6LU) at 9.00 am. All members and their guests, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, are warmly invited to attend this Liturgy. The church is only five minutes’ walk from St Anne’s College where coffee will be available in the Tsuzuki Theatre Foyer from 10.45 am. Please note this is a change of venue! As usual, proceedings will begin at 11.30 am. Once again there will be three talks.


Our first speaker is Dr Alice Mary Talbot, Director Emerita of Byzantine Studies of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington DC, who will speak about Hermits on the Holy Mountain.  It has been said of her:


“Alice-Mary Talbot’s contribution to the study of middle and late Byzantine social and religious history in general, and women and religious culture in Byzantium in particular, has been immense; even in retirement she has continued to make Byzantine literature available in English translation through the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. But her contribution to the discipline and to academia goes beyond her published and edited works …. she is one of the generation of pioneering female scholars in the United States who broke through the glass ceiling back in the 1970s and transformed academic life and culture as a result.”


Our second speaker is the artist Tim Vyner, who was the recipient of the first Doug Patterson /RCA/ Mount Athos Centre bursary.  Tim paid three visits to Mount Athos over a calendar year during 2013 and 2014, visiting all 20 monasteries on Mount Athos, where he made a series of paintings and drawings. He will be speaking about his experience as an artist there.


Our third speaker is Robert Jackson, who will give an illustrated talk about the society’s memorable 2015 pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 


A buffet lunch is available in the college and must be booked in advance (price £20.00). It is followed by the official business of the AGM itself and as usual there will be elections.

 Six members of the Executive Committee have reached the end of their term of office and will tender their resignations: Metropolitan Kallistos, John Arnell, Dimitri Conomos, Simon Jennings, Peter Lea, and Michael Naldrett.  In addition, Frances Jennings was co-opted onto the committee during the year. All seven have indicated their willingness to stand. Any further nominations should reach the Secretary in writing at least one week before the meeting.  Guests are welcome at the AGM but may not vote.


Over the years the Society’s activities have expanded and become more complex.  Therefore, a motion will be proposed at the AGM to increase the maximum permissible number of committee members from nine to twelve.


After tea there is a further opportunity to join the Orthodox community at 1 Canterbury Road for a Vespers service at 5.30 pm. The service will last about two hours and the languages used will be primarily English and Greek.


Attendance at the AGM is free. The charge for attending the rest of the day (including coffee and tea) is £12.00 each (students £6.00). Completed forms and cheques (payable to The Friends of Mount Athos) should be sent as soon as possible to Frances Jennings, c/o Rawlinson & Hunter, Eighth Floor, 6 New Street Square, London EC4A 3AQ.


Project for the restoration of footpaths and wayside shrines and fountains

This spring another expedition, the sixteenth, will be dispatched to the Mountain for a fortnight in May. The list for this year is already full and there is a waiting list, but the project leaders, John Arnell and Andrew Buchanan, will soon be assembling a team for next year and any members who wish to volunteer their services are encouraged to contact them by email at


New map of Mount Athos

We are very pleased to announce the publication of a new Mount Athos Pilgrim Map.  Developed by FoMA member and cartographer, Peter Howorth, in collaboration with members of FoMA’s Footpaths Project, it is expected to become the preferred map of the Holy Mountain, and its standard of accuracy and completeness exceeds all predecessors. The map itself is published by Peter Howorth and is available for purchase through his website: .  FoMA members may order the map at a special discounted price using the coupon code “FoMA” (this is case sensitive). While we are delighted to announce and promote this map, it is published by Peter, and neither FoMA, nor its Executive Committee as individuals, can take any responsibility for its accuracy.


Pilgrimage to the Monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights

This year’s pilgrimage will take place on 2 July 2016. Both Orthodox and non-Orthodox members and their families and friends are warmly invited to participate. Those who are interested should contact the organizer, Dimitri Conomos (


Pilgrimage to Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus

This year’s pilgrimage, to Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus, will run from 22 October to 30 October 2016.  A few spaces are still available, and anyone interested should contact the organizer, Dimitri Conomos, as soon as possible.


FoMA Travel Bursary

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduate students working for a higher degree or diploma at institutions of higher learning in the UK for the Friends of Mount Athos Travel Bursary. Applicants may be drawn from any discipline but should be already engaged in or willing to become engaged in a project with a specifically Athonite context. The value of the award is £500. Applications, accompanied by the names and addresses of two referees, should be addressed to me at 58 Manor Road, Woodstock OX20 1XJ.



Peter Lea