The monastery was greatly blessed on the First of July when Archimandrite Cherubim (Apostolou), a member of the Theophileon Brotherhood of the Skete of St. Anne on Mt. Athos, visited bearing the relics of St. Anna, the mother of the Theotokos, and to whom the Skete of St. Anne is dedicated.
One of the elders of the Theophileon Brotherhood was Hieromonk Anthimos who reposed in 1996, and whom Fr. Cherubim had the great blessing to have had as his confessor. Elder Anthimos is considered to be one of the most recently identified “saints” of the Athonite peninsula. His relics are enshrined within their chapel, dedicated to the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to the Temple, commemorated on November 21.
The Skete of St. Anna is the oldest and the largest Skete of Mount Athos, remaining in the spiritual care of the Great Lavra. It is located on the southwestern shore of the peninsula, situated some 500 meters up on the cliffs above the sea. The Skete is accessible either by boat, one hour from the port of Daphne, followed by a climb of over 2,000 steps from the sea floor (approximately one hour hike) or by foot, a six and a half hour hike from the aforementioned monastery.
This was not the first visit of Archimandrite Cherubim to our monastery; he visited some thirty years ago or so as well, when we were just beginning to lay down the first roots of the monastic life here, and blessed us with some relics of four saints he had brought from the Holy Mountain.
We were truly blessed to venerate and pray before the grace-filled relics of St. Anne herself, but also to have the opportunity to be breathe in some of the cool and refreshing “spiritual oxygen” (as St. Paisius of Mt. Athos called it) from one of the monks of the Holy Mountain – sometimes the simple kindness and love of a fellow Christian (and monastic!) engaged in the same struggle is enough to strengthen one to continue carrying one’s Cross.