2. Folklore Collection
Below the magnificent buildings of our Coenobitic
Skete, i.e. in its underground vaults, which remind one of ancient
Christian catacombs and literally amaze the visitor, we decided
to house our rich Folklore Collection, which is distinguished for
the wide range and rarity of its exhibits.
The collection has its very own language with which it proudly presents
the history of our Holy Institution. It contains the tools and objects
used by the monks in the daily life and ‘diakonimata’ (administration),
from 1757 until 1992, when our Brotherhood moved into the Skete.
The Collection’s exhibits were gathered
from all over the Skete, found among the rubble and debris. Much
effort went into their collection. After the underground areas were
repaired and decorated accordingly, we restored the artifacts and
placed them in various sub-collections, many in show cases, others
on tables or benches, so that the visitor could be informed both
in a general and in a detailed way about the life and history of
our Holy Coenobium.
If one takes into consideration that the monastic Brotherhood of our Skete at its peak in the early 19th century numbered 450 Fathers, employed many lay workers and also hosted a great number of Pilgrims, we can begin to understand the extent and range of the Collection’s exhibits. It should be noted that many of the useful objects were lost, given away or sold, especially during the difficult years of its decline, i.e. after 1917.
The areas from which the exhibits come are the Hospital, the Pharmacy,
the Carpenter’s shop, the Smithy, the Olive-Press, the Shoemaker’s
shop, the Printing-Press, the Icon-Painting studio, the Tailor’s
shop (where vestments and clothing used by priests and monks were
made), the Kitchen, the Refectory, the Bakery, the Wine and Oil
presses, the Stables, the Arsanas (Harbor), the Lay Worker’s Houses,
the Cottages, the Warehouses and the Monks’ Cells. Each of these
areas made its own contribution to the Skete’s operation and employed
its own means and tools, in order to serve effectively its purpose.