National Geographic : 1916 Sep
Photograph by H. G. Dwight THE PORT OF LAVRA: MT. ATHOS, GREECE curious is a geography of the eleventh century, after Strabo and Ptolemy, con taining the most extraordinary maps. I photographed one of Macedonia, out of which no human being could make head or tail; and on top of it I carefully pro ceeded to photograph a beautifully illu minated liturgy of St. Basil. We prolonged our stay at Vatopethi, at the kind instance of the monks, in order to see a characteristic piece of local color. This was the, fete day of the monastery, which is dedicated to the An nunciation of the Virgin. The festival was celebrated with the more enthusi asm, I fancy, because it happened to fall in Lent. From all parts of the penin sula, and even from farther away, guests gathered in honor of one of the chief distractions of the Mt. Athos year. The Parliament of Karyes, especially invited, arrived in a body the day before the fete. Their approach was heralded by gunshots among the hills, at which signal the elders of the monastery assem bled at the gate. When the representa- tives finally dismounted from their gaily caparisoned mules, there was a universal embracing, while the white-kilted escort burned more powder. Then, as the fa thers entered the court, the bells of the clock-tower pealed them welcome, and they all went into the church for a brief office. The religious event of the occasion was the vigil in the church, which began be fore sundown on the eve of the great day. We found the two narthexes and the nave packed with monks and peas ants, all standing, as the Greek custom is. Six tall white guardsmen picturesquely kept the transepts clear. We had the honor to be shown to transept stalls, among the higher clergy and invited guests; but, although this honor con ferred the privilege of hanging by one's elbows from the high arms of one's stall, even of perching on a little shelf ad justed to the edge of a turned-up seat which it is not etiquette to use, I must confess that I weakly withdrew before midnight.