National Geographic : 1916 Sep
Photograph by H. G. Dwight THE MONASTERY OF PANTOKRATOR: MT. ATHOS, GREECE This small but picturesque monastery, standing near the edge of the sea on the east side of the peninsula, enjoys a wide view of the Egean and of the peak of Athos. Founded in the fourteenth century, it is the seventh of the monasteries in point of age. the brim of the West nor the upper flare of the Greek clergy (see page 270). Not all the inhabitants were gowned, however. Some wore white Albanian ballet skirts, tasseled garters below a tight white knee, and a pompon at the turned up tip of each red slipper. These, we learned, were members of a local pre torian guard. Others were less amply kilted or trousered in different degrees of bagginess; and not a few looked as prosaic as ourselves. WHERE VISITOR IS GUEST Our muleteer was a little surprised that we preferred to put up at an inn instead of at one of the monastic establishments in the suburbs of Karyes. The reason of his surprise lay in the fact that for many travelers the true beauty of a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos is that not only do you lay up credit for yourself on high, but that you do it for next to nothing. Any one belonging to the worse half of humanity may visit the monasteries and be gratui- tously entertained so long as he cares to stay. So many avail themselves of this hos pitable privilege, however, that there are degrees in the welcome extended by the monks. If, for instance, the pilgrim bring a letter from known ecclesiastical authorities, he will receive more consid eration, and may even receive money for his own purposes or for others commend ed to the generosity of the fathers. We were not happy enough to possess a letter of that particular kind; but we did bring a letter from the highest of all ecclesiasti cal authorities in the Greek world, namely, the Patriarch of Constantinople. In theory, therefore, we were entitled to the best the monasteries had to offer and transportation from one to another by mule or boat. For ourselves, we found this scheme of things more embarrassing than otherwise, and in most cases it either increased the expense of our sojourn or caused us unwillingly to hasten our de parture.