US Ambassador to Athens Geoffrey Pyatt began a visit to Mount Athos with a stop at the Vatopedi Monastery, one of the most ancient and illustrious of the 20 monasteries on the monastic peninsula which has been open only to men –  monks and visitors –  for over one thousand years.

Pyatt expressed his respect and admiration for Vatopedi and the monastic colony in a message on his official Twitter account this morning.

“Mt. Athos is a truly spiritual place, and I profoundly thank Abbot Ephraim for introducing me to the rich history of Vatopedi on my first stop here. I was also impressed by the Monastery’s innovative research and ideas on its organic herbal products,” the Ambassador remarked.