Greek health authorities ordered an Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos to be placed under quarantine on Monday after at least eight confirmed cases of coronavirus were recorded among the monks living there.
The monastery of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul), founded in the late 10th to early 11th century by Saint Paul of Xeropotamou, is in the western part of the Athos peninsula.
According to an Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) report, the condition of one of the monks is considered “serious” and he has been evacuated for treatment to a Thessaloniki hospital.
The monastery, with 31 monks, ranks fourteenth in the hierarchy of all the Athonite monasteries. Its library contains 494 hand-lettered manuscripts, and over 12,000 printed books.
At least two other cases of coronavirus have also been detected in two other monasteries on Mt. Athos, according to the report.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, authorities at Mt. Athos have reduced the number of pilgrims to the “Holy Mountain” to a minimum. Visitors are tested at the ports of Ouranoupolis and Ierissos now before they arrive.