US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt has visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mount Athos in northern Greece, describing the religious community as “a truly spiritual place”.
Pyatt, who visited the monastic community of Vatopedi on Monday, was impressed by the rich history of the monastery, its innovative research and its ideas for the organic herbs grown at the site.
In a post on his personal Twitter account, Pyatt wrote: “Mt. Athos is a truly spiritual place, and I profoundly thank Abbot Ephraim for introducing me to the rich history of Vatopedi on my first stop here.
“I was also impressed by the Monastery’s innovative research and ideas on its organic herbal products”.
Mt. Athos is a truly spiritual place, and I profoundly thank Abbot Ephraim for introducing me to the rich history of Vatopedi on my first stop here. I was also impressed by the Monastery's innovative research and ideas on its organic herbal products. pic.twitter.com/8jcM6fx8il
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbGreece) April 17, 2018
Vatopedi was built during the second half of the 10th century by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas, and Antonius, from Adrianople, who were disciples of Athanasius the Athonite.
From then onwards, several buildings have been constructed, most of them were built during the Byzantine period and during the 18th and 19th centuries when the monastery reached its highest peak.
More than 120 monks live in the monastery today, where extensive construction projects are underway to restore the larger buildings.