On Mount Athos the only real world is that of the night: the sun glimmering on the sea, the chirping of the birds on the trees, the murmuring of the fountains in the cloisters, are nothing but an illusion.

Goran Shildt, The Sea of Icarus


I arrived in Anfeh on the 20th of November 1973. In 1979 I began the restoration of the monastery of Notre Dame de la Guarde. I was completely alone and living on the bare minimum: one room, one bathroom and not much more. In that era the militias of Maraba arrived and seized the monastery. It was a very difficult time. Even after the arrival of the Syrian soldiers it was complicated, they didn’t want me to be here, but with time our relationship improved. Hereafter the Lebanese soldiers arrived. They were very gentle and friendly with me even though they weren’t very hardworking. However I have to say that they did help me in the reconstruction of the church. We finished the restoration of the convent the 15th of June 2013. It has been 40 years of hard and exhausting work. After having finished I only had $7. When I leave this place, whether to inferno or paradise, who knows what will happen to the monastery... Now I spend my mornings looking out to the sea and the salt ponds from the balcony.

Soeur Catrine



The Turkish are the ones who still have a problem with us, not us with them. Don’t you know that every day from here we see Turkish aviation invading the Greek flying zone? Until 1965 in Imvros Island we were only Greeks, approximately 9000 people. Nowadays we are 250... During the dark times, the Turkish government would send the worst thugs and other mistreated minorities like the Kurds to occupy our houses, work our fields and violate our women. It’s when my wife, native of Agridia, had to leave the island. She was a young beautiful blonde girl, she was scared to death. So she came to Athens and I’m glad she did, otherwise I would never have met her! Now we are retired here because she wanted to spend her last years in her homeland.

Captain Yorgos Kodonakis, Agridia resident



We were heading to Cape Town when we ran out of money. We stayed here in Marseille for four years, it was a nice time; sailing and acting was our way of life.

We are a Free Republic of Fools. Nobody is holding the wheel, nobody knows where to go.We are an image of the world upside down.


Captain August





The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus