Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at the northern Greek peninsula of Mount Athos, on a visit to the autonomous Orthodox Christian monastic community here.
Putin flew from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki Saturday morning, went by road near Mt.Athos and then took a boat – the only means to reach the community.
Putin will attend a Mass in his honor, here in the administrative center of the community, before traveling to the monastery of St. Panteleimon, inhabited by about 70 Russian, Ukrainian and other Russian Orthodox monks. There, Putin will take part in celebrating 1,000 years of Russian presence in Mt. Athos.
The head of the Russian Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, arrived in Mt. Athos Friday.