The skete of Saint Demetrios belongs to the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi. It is located in the mountains in a quiet and beautiful location and is at a half hour’s walking distance from the monastery.
The self-controlled refrain from gluttony; those who have renounced possessions, from greed; the tranquil, from loquacity; the pure, from self-indulgence; the modest, from unchastity; the self-dependent, from avarice; the gentle, from agitation; the humble, from self-esteem; the obedient, from quarrelling; the self-critical, from hypocrisy. Similarly, those who pray are protected from despair; the poor, from having many possessions; confessors of the faith, from its denial; martyrs, from idolatry. Do you see how every virtue that is performed even to the point of death is nothing other than refraining from sin? Now to refrain from sin is a work within our own natural powers, but not something that buys us the kingdom. Based on Abba Mark The fathers in Vatopaidi's refectory are preparing the grapes
For the whole array of passions, wrath and fear, cowardice and impudence, depression as well as pleasure, hatred, strife and merciless cruelty, envy as well as flattery, brutality together with brooding over injuries, they are all so many despotic masters... You really, really, really need to clean them up. Don't be afraid and do it! Okay, if you're afraid, be afraid and do it anyway! Based on St Gregory of Nyssa
God's action in creation and creation's role in our journey towards God culminate in the gifts of bread and wine which are brought forth to be consecrated to become the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In the Eucharist, man, as the priest of creation, offers creation back to the Creator and then receives it back sanctified and transformed into the very God to Whom it was offered. In this photo, a moment from the Divine Liturgy of St. James, the 'Brother' of Lord which is held in the middle of the Vatopaidi's Katholikon by the Abbot Ephraim.
...But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Based on Luke 15:20-24
People who work for Christ, but with pride, stink out their virtues with their pride. It’s like if you’re frying eggs and you get bird droppings in them. You have to throw the whole lot out, including the frying pan. That's why the monks seek always the humbleness. Based on St Paisios the Athonite In this photo is depicted the chef monk from the St George's Cell at Kolitsou, near Vatopaidi, preparing the grilled fish for the feast of St. George in an empty barrel which was used as stove.
The mystery of holy unction provides both physical and spiritual healing with holy oil blessed by the Holy Spirit and is of great comfort to the faithful. The oil carries God's grace both to renew the body and to cleanse the spirit. The service follows the apostolic tradition mentioned in the New Testament: "...let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" Based on James 5:14-15 In this photo is depicted the moment of the blessing of the holy oil at Vatopaidi. In middle, Abbot Ephraim surrounded by priest-monks.
With all your power, ask the Lord for humility and brotherly love, because God freely gives His grace for love towards one's brother. Anyone who wants to be first must desire to be the very last, and the servant of all. Based on St. Silouan the Athonite; Mark 9:35 In this photo, one of Vatopaidi’s cooks is making pancakes while his disciples look on and learn from him.
It is a definite truth that Divine Providence arranges all of creation. God considers all things beforehand and takes care for all things. This is the Divine fatherly care of which the blessed apostle Peter speaks: "Cast all of your cares upon Him, because He is concerned for you." Based on St. Elias Minjatios A monk from Vatopaidi while checking the waterfalls near the monastery. Water is a very important factor for the monks of Mount Athos since rainfalls (especially in summer) are quite rare.
How do we prepare for a big feast? Everyone thinks that a big feast as an occasion of joy and to catch up with loved ones. However, in order to really feel the real happiness one must prepare himself/herself, beyond of preparing food, gifts, decorating house etc. First of all, we must remember that joy is a virtue from God. It isn't a psychological state. That's why in order to prepare ourselves before the feast to receive the God's grace, we must keep fasting (according with the respective ascetic guidelines), confess, go to church and read spiritual texts in accordance with that feast. We must take into consideration that before and after a major event such as Christmas, New Year, one's Birthday, Easter and so on… the devil tries to ruin the joy that is spread from the festive season so one can feel upset, saddened, hate. Take care and let God do His works. Through pray all can be managed. Before the beginning of the day, events, gatherings etc, say a little prayer so God can be present to protect from any evil harm. In this photo, monks from Vatopaidi are at the kitchen preparing fish, the main meal for the feast.
How to win the war of the stomach We must eat to live and not live to eat. We must control the stomach and not the stomach control us. The secret is to leave every meal still feeling a slight hunger; to avoid food which provokes pleasure and choose food that frees you from this trap. Monks do not choose the food they will eat. Only the monk who serves as chef knows. The photo depicts a monk in the Refectory at Vatopaidi Monastery arranging the daily meal
When, in the absence of our superior, we imagine his face and think that he is always standing by us, and avoid every meeting, or word, or food, or sleep, or anything else that we think he would not like, then we have truly learned authentic obedience. Illegitimately born children regard the absence of their teacher as a joy, but the legitimate ones think it a loss. Monks pictured while preparing the meal in Vatopaidi's refectory.
One evil receives strength from another. In the same way, good deeds also sprout from one another and the one in whom they are found grows greater. It is preferable to practice an easier but consistent virtue rather than attempt an superior one which will stop immediately. The photo depicts the tomato gathering in Vatopaidi's greenhouse.