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Georgian Inscription

Three abbots and one hieromonk were recently visiting from Georgia. They were able to decipher a Georgian inscription on stone dated to the tenth century.

Here is the transcription line for line:

აჰა მთა
ღვთისა შემწყნარებელი მ
ონანულთაი ხარ          ცო
ლოცვა ყა

Here is the same text written with more natural word breaks:

აჰა, მთა ღვთისა შემწყნარებელი მონანულთა ხარ.
ლოცვა ყავთ.

A translation: Behold the Mountain of God,
which receives those who repent.
— A sinner. Say a prayer.

Newly Renovated Kellia

First sun on the newly renovated kellia below the library.

Mountain Ridge

Advancing shadows at the end of the day distinguish a ridge from the mountain behind it. On the other side of the ridge is the hesychasterion of Saints Galakteon and Episteme. A double barred metal cross is visible on the mountaintop in the distance.

When the Elder Paisios lived at the hermitage, at night he would climb to the top of the ridge, from where the monastery is visible far below. There he would pray for the monks and for the whole world.

Sunrise in Summertime

In the summer, the sun rises far to the north. The first rays of sunlight shine on the valley above the hesychasterion of Saints Galakteon and Episteme. A grackle perches on top of the highest cross of the bell tower.

Butterflies at the Burning Bush

Butterflies alight on the flowers of the Burning Bush.

A detail of the last photo above.

First Sunlight on the Burning Bush

The Burning Bush in the first rays of sunlight. Buds open to reveal lilac coloured petals that later turn white.

Ancient Carob Tree

There is an ancient carob tree in the valley a short distance below the cave of Saint John Climacus. It has a gnarled and weathered trunk.

The carob tree, χαρουπιά (Ceratonia siliqua), produces pods. Both the pulp and the seeds are edible.

In the classical world, the seeds of the carob tree were considered very consistent in weight. They were used to weigh gold. A Roman pure gold solidus was equal in weight to 24 carob seeds.

The Greek word for a carob seed is κεράτιον, and the Arab word qīrāṭ, from which we have the English word ‘carat’. Even today, 24 carat gold is pure gold.

Liturgy at the Chapel of Saint John Climacus

We celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Chapel of Saint John Climacus for his feast day.

At the head of the valley leading to the chapel. Two boys ran eagerly ahead. Their mothers and other pilgrims followed patiently behind.

A massive outcrop of granite with a garden below, just at sunrise.

Lighting the lamps and candles for the service.

The icon of Saint John was adorned with flowers.

Father Michael reading the Gospel. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28-30)

Icon of Saint John Climacus

The icon of Saint John Climacus, created at the Sacred Monastery of Pantokratoros in Rafina, Greece, in 1974.

The saint is holding a scroll with a quotation from The Ladder of Divine Ascent,

Εἴ τις δάκρυον ψυχικὸν ἐκτήσατο, τούτῳ πᾶς τόπος εἰς πένθος ἀρμόδιος.

He who has obtained heartfelt tears will find any place convenient for mourning. (Step 7.12)

The Church of Saint John Climacus

The church of Saint John Climacus, constructed a short distance below the cave of the saint.