January 23, 2018

Saint Dionysios and the Bears of Mount Olympus

By Monk Agapios Landos

The Bears On The Mountain

To this day, it is recounted on Mount Olympus, that our holy Father Dionysios at one time was on a certain errand with a donkey. He grew weary and decided to lay down and rest. He fell into a deep sleep, whereupon a bear fell upon his animal and slew it. The Saint awoke to find that his donkey had been devoured by a bear. Consequently, he rebuked the bear. In the denouncement, he prohibited bears from entering upon or inhabiting that side of the mountain. Henceforward, all the bears forsook that area and migrated to the other side of the mountain, never to trespass the invisible barrier set by the Saint's word. Currently, the effects of this phenomenon are still in existence. For one side of the mountain is densely populated with bears, whereas, the other side is completely devoid of their presence.

From the book New Paradise, "Life of Saint Dionysios of Olympus" (Venice, 1641).

Last Bear on Mount Olympus Found Dead

August 29, 2008

A brown bear, found dead at the foot of Mount Olympus yesterday, was the last of the protected species in the area, conservationists said yesterday, noting that the animal appeared to have been shot or poisoned. The fact that the bear's mouth was frozen open suggests it had suffered spasms and may have eaten poisoned bait, according to members of the environmental group Callisto. The animal also had chest injuries so it may have been shot. Callisto, which has been monitoring the presence of bears, wolves and other protected animals on the Greek mainland for years, believes the bear found yesterday was the last of its kind in the area. Last November the mutilated remains of a bear were found in a forest in Elassona, central Greece. The bear had been shot and three of its paws, along with its lower jaw, had been removed.