Anton walking with his backpack on a rough road

In the North of Greece, the peninsula Chalkidike reaches out into the sea like a hand.
On the easternmost finger, legally accessible by sea only, lies the monastic state Athos
with its Holy Mountain AGION OROS: 6099ft of white marble.

Time seems to have passed much more slowly there... the monks and hermits
live by their own rules and orthodox rites, unchanged since 1500 years.
Only few visitors receive the coveted "Diamonitirion", the permission to enter.
No females are ever allowed there. (No female animals, either!)

There is no hotel, no store, no transportation... One walks,
and spends the nights in monasteries (where the monks provide a vegetarian meal).
Belongings are carried in bundles and rucksacks, including some useful gifts
for the monks, who do not accept money, but generously offer strong coffee,
ouzo and sweets to any weary wanderer, who arrives at their doorstep.

Nine years ago, Krajnc carried an extra package for many miles and many hours,
with the help of his co-pilgrim Stephan Bauer:
a roll of canvas and a set of paints and brushes.
He had realised during his first visit,
in 1988, that he absolutely HAD TO PAINT there.

He now returns to Mount Athos every autumn, in search of
silence and inspiration. The rather large painting "grows" a little bit each year.
The first several times, Krajnc carried it from monastery to monastery. Quite a task!
It is now guarded by Monk Panteleimon, who lives alone in Jovannitsa,
but provides food and shelter for a good number of pilgrims throughout the year.
Return visitors always eagerly check the artist's progress.

a view  from the mountain down to the sea

JOVANNITSA, Krajnc' home on Athos.

What he came to find: the step back into a past that is alive here.
Without radio, without TV, and, until very recently, without telephone.
It has now found its way to Athos. The artist had not missed any of the modern technical inventions...
How could he, surrounded by a breathtaking landscape of sea and mountains
that can only be described in terms of "magnificent", "awesome", "grandiose"?

For a short time Krajnc dips into a life with fewer obligations and stresses,
returns to the basics, to simplicity... meditates on what is, maybe, really important.
And paints.

Panteleimon bending down to his cats

PANTELEIMON regularly feeds his cats, the only animals larger than a mouse,
who completely ignore the rule of "no females!" and are quietly permitted to do so.
He also takes care of a donkey and a horse,
and the steady flow of pilgrims mentioned above.

A new original icon thumbnail of the icon leading to bigger version by Krajnc
was added in 1997 to the venerated icons in Panteleimon's little church.

Anton painting on Athos

The artist paints in natural light - or by the light of candles
and of one single petroleum lamp. Symbol of another rhythm of life.
The clocks on Athos mark time differently, too. They show Midnight at sunset.
The "day" starts with prayers and songs long before the sun rises.

All visitors to the monk's retreat are expected to help with daily chores.
Artists not excepted. Fires are made, fish and squid are caught and cooked,
bread is baked, the vegetable garden needs lots of attention - potatoes and
tomatoes being the main food staple - olives are collected and bees are tended.
They supply honey and wax for hand dipped candles, which, exported all over
Europe by his visitors, provide a small income for Panteleimon.

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a view of the painting

THE PAINTING in its latest state, October 1997.

this iconbird leads to the page on icons

the artist's dove


page last modified: Fabruary 14, 2005

Copyright© 1997-2005 by Anton Krajnc. In keeping with the spirit of the Internet, all images are for personal, non-commercial use only. Photography by Anton Krajnc and Dagmar.

All artwork and text information contained on these pages is original, and is protected by copyright and trademark laws. For questions or information regarding the use or licensing of text, artwork or other contents, please contact the artist Anton Krajnc via email: akstudio@flash.net

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