On Saturday, July 10, with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda, locum tenens of the Diocese of Alaska, began an extended visit to his former monastery, the Sacred and Stavropegial Monastery of Karakallou on Mount Athos. His Grace is visiting with the blessing of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and at the invitation of Elder Philotheos, Abbot of the monastery.
Elder Philotheos and the brotherhood formally received His Grace and his entourage upon their arrival at the doors of the monastery and processed into the Catholikon where a Doxology was served.
His Grace Bishop Alexis made this visit chiefly so that he could preside at the liturgical celebrations for Saints Peter and Paul, the main feast of the monastery. The celebration of this feast followed the Athonite order for a panegyric service and began Sunday evening, July 11, and ended mid-morning on Monday, July 12, the day of the feast. After the festive meal, Bishop Alexis offered a sermon to the monastics, distinguished guests, and pilgrims who had gathered at the monastery for the feast.
While at the monastery, His Grace had the opportunity to meet with Elder Philotheos and various members of the brotherhood. Prior to the celebration of the feast, His Grace met with Mr. Thanasis Martinos, the Civil Administrator of Mount Athos.
Traveling with His Grace, as part of his entourage, were Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America; Archpriest Innocent Dresdow, Chancellor of the Diocese of Alaska; Archpriest Thomas Andrew, cleric of the Diocese of Alaska; and Hierodeacon David (Armstrong), monastic of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery.
His Grace and part of his entourage are scheduled to remain on Mount Athos until Sunday, July 18.