… back in Thessaloniki


ike the land of Narnia, visitors to Mount Athos can spend a lifetime in the forests, castles and monasteries but back in the other world it only counts as moments or days. I’ve been to a timeless land that draws the wounded and lost and offers us peace and a glimpse of a different reality.

Mount Athos is where…

  • balding, no-neck, triple chin, beer gut Balkan-types come to weep
  • a frightened Boston boy arrives with busted luggage and plans to rent a donkey or become a monk
  • a German teacher dying of cancer comes to seize what’s eternal before the disease seizes him
  • a tiny, timid Greek who tends his ailing mother and dreams of being a monk looks for courage
  • a lawyer who breaks apart families prays for the enlargement of his own
  • a Serbian icon painter looks for a faith as austere as his brush strokes
  • a lost writer comes seeking resurrection

This is where prayers and stone carve each other – unyielding, enduring, ancient. It’s where men come to see if there is more. Most are in their 40s or 50s – old enough to know some truth yet still young enough to do something about it. Assuming they have the courage. Assuming they don’t get swept away in the current of time that swirls beyond the Holy Mountain.

More to come but first a shower… it’s been a week!