My Mount Athos Icons (2001)


We visited Greece in late 2001 – not long after the terror-attacks on September 11th in New York – and I remember the airports being eerily ‘clear’ of passengers! We stayed in the Halkidiki area of Northern Greece – part beach paradise, part building site. I was with Cindy (my ex-wife), Sue-Ling (my eldest daughter), and Cindy’s elderly mother. I remember structures that resembled British public telephone boxes – but which contained icons of Jesus Christ (often with incense burning), designed for ordinary people to ‘pray’ as they went about their everyday business. We went on a boat-trip to Mount Athos where I met the monks and witnessed them paint these icons in-front of all the tourists. I was told that Western Christianity is considered ‘Unorthodox’, and that Jesus Christ was Asian or Arab! Although the area was not very conducive to a holiday (at least for myself, as it lacked the classical Greek culture that I love), Mount Athos was a high-point of culture (that and the fact that I saw ordinary Greek men practice weightlifting and body-building as a national sport). Still, I purchased some interesting books and these two beautiful icons, which for many years have been ‘resting’ at the home of my parents in Torquay.

Hand-Made Icon – Mount Athos (2001)
Jesus Christ was an Asian or Arab!

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