The Station

Robert Byron


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Eland Publishing Ltd
23 March 2024
ISBN: 9781780602219
272 pages

From the publisher

The Station follows three high-spirited young men as they visit twenty monasteries on Mount Athos in 1927. They examine treasures, photograph frescoes and sketch the courtyards and those who live in them. They swim ecstatically off the sparkling, deserted beaches, climb mountains, talk and share meals with monks and transcribe these conversations with relish. For life is very different for a celibate hermit on Mount Athos. Time has no meaning: the Son of God, His Virgin Mother, the Angels and the Saints are all living creatures of flesh and blood, and the Pope is a heretic. This slim book was little short of revolutionary in its fearless championing of Greek Orthodoxy and Byzantine civilization, reversing centuries of western prejudice. It was the first of Robert Byron’s travel books, revealing the flashing wit, bravery, passion and astonishing powers of visual observation which made him such a brilliant writer. The playfully obscure title is only finally explained in his last sentence: ‘This is the holy Mountain Athos, station of a faith where all the years have stopped.’