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Prospective Theology Students: Sign up for a Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos from July 6-18, 2018!

Dear Friends,

We will (once again) be hosting a summer retreat and pilgrimage to Thessaloniki and Mt. Athos for present, past or future students of theology (roughly ages 19-30), including those only considering the priesthood or attending seminary.

There are up to 15 spots available for this 12 day intensive program which will include:

  1. A five day pilgrimage to Mount Athos, where we’ll meet with contemporary elders and Abbots (July 13-17).
  2. The all-night vigil at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, for the feast of Saint Paisios the Athonite (July 12).
  3. A five day program of services, lectures, discussion and visits to Thessaloniki and local monasteries from our base in the mountain-top village of Petrokerasa outside of Thessaloniki. We will invite spiritual fathers and elders from Northern Greece, as well as professors of theology from the University of Thessaloniki, to visit with and speak to the participants.

Below is a description of the two-week program.

The deadline is March 30th. After that the price will rise.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Fr. Peter Heers
Assistant Professor of Holy Scripture
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
Jordanville, New York

For more information contact Fr. Peter Heers (uncutmountainpress@gmail.com)

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

A 12 day pilgrimage to Thessaloniki, Mount Athos and select Monasteries in Northern Greece which includes meetings with Athonite Elders and Spiritual Fathers, Abbots and Abbesses of Monasteries in Northern Greece, Professors of Theology from the University of Thessaloniki, talks and presentations on contemporary challenges facing the Church, Divine Services and the 9 hour Vigil for St. Paisios the Athonite held at the Monastery of Souroti, where he reposed and was buried.

During the retreat portion of the trip, participants will be hosted in a newly-built guest house in the village of Petrokerasa, in the mountains outside of Thessaloniki, where they will spend the first five days of their stay participating in a spiritual program of prayer, discussions, lectures and walks to mountain-side chapels, and from where they will also make one-day trips to nearby monasteries and the historic churches of Thessaloniki.

During the second part of their stay, they will travel to Mount Athos for a five day pilgrimage to the Monasteries, Sketes and Kellia of the Garden of the Theotokos and 1000+ year old Monastic Republic. The Participants will meet with elders and experienced monastics and have an opportunity to learn from their example and wisdom.

PROGRAM DATES

  • JUL 6 Friday — Depart from U.S./Canada/UK/Australia
  • JUL 18 Wednesday — Return to U.S./Canada/UK/Australia


  • JUL 7 Arrive in Greece
  • JUL 7-11 — In Petrokerasa
  • JUL 11 Evening — Vigil for Elder Paisios (Souroti) (8:00pm-4:30am)
  • JUL 12-17 — On Athos
  • JUL 18 — Depart for U.S./Canada/UK/Australia


SPECIAL EVENTS

  1. Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos
    Our five day pilgrimage to Mt. Athos will include visits to both large Coenobitic Monasteries and smaller sketes and kellia, so that our young pilgrims will experience the spectrum of monastic life that exists on Holy Mountain. The pilgrims will have an opportunity to speak with experienced spiritual fathers and abbots on the Holy Mountain, a blessing which is not available to most visitors.
  2. Trips to Local Monasteries
    Two trips are planned to nearby monasteries, which may include Meteora, the Timios Prodromos Monastery in Serres, the Monastery of the Metemorphosis in Sohos, where the Elder Ioannikios resides (he is the author of the Athonite Gerontikon), and to the Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, in Ormylia, Chalkidiki, which was founded with the blessing of Elder Paisios the Athonite.
  3. Two days will be set aside for visits to Thessaloniki, both to see the historic churches of Ss. Demetrios and Gregory Palamas and to shop in the marketplace, which includes many ecclesiastical goods shops.
  4. Vigil for the Feast of St. Paisios the Athonite at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, Greece, which was where the Saint reposed and his relics are interred.
  5. During our stay in Petrokerasa, we’ll take walks out into the countryside, to the chapels, of which the parish of Petrokerasa has six, where we’ll hold vespers and compline. In the evenings, there will be a presentation or a talk on a particular topic, followed by a general discussion.


WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

  1. Past, present or future students of theology can participate. Because the program includes a 5 day trip to Mount Athos, the program is only open to men. Also, participants will only be accepted if they have a letter of recommendation from their spiritual father or bishop.
  2. The Facilities and Stay in Petrokerasa
    We have facilities here – brand new! – that can host up to 15 individuals. They include, in addition to rooms, a large kitchen and dining hall, a smaller kitchen and several showers and bathrooms. The hall is equipped with a large interactive screen (whiteboard) which will be used during presentations to the participants.
  3. Cost for Participants
    Each participant would have to fund their travel to and from Thessaloniki, provide $500 for the room, board and non-Athonite travel of the program, $50 for the Athos diamonitirion (visa) and roughly $50 for common travel expenses on Mt. Athos.


ADVANTAGES OF THIS PROGRAM

This is a unique opportunity for Orthodox from abroad to quickly and intensely be immersed in the life, ethos and teaching of Orthodoxy in Northern Greece.

The advantages of visiting Thessaloniki and Mount Athos as a part of this program, as opposed to on one’s own, should be obvious: the participants will not only spend less money, but will, in the span of 12 days be thoroughly and directly introduced to the spiritual environment of Orthodoxy in Greece and on Athos.

For more information contact Fr. Peter Heers (uncutmountainpress@gmail.com)

Posted on March 18th, 2018

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