NEWS UPDATE – Kostas SV1DPI writes:
A very closed friend of mine, Monk Apollo SV2ASP, passed away at 20:45 UTC on 5/5/2019. His funeral will be held in Mount Athos at 09UTC, 6 May 2019. The last 3 years he had a battle with brain cancer. He was 64 years old. He was born near Preveza in West Greece. He was part of a large family with a lot of brothers and sisters. After his studies, he followed the path of complete dedication to Christ and became a monk in 1973 in Monastery of Myrtia near Agrinio, in West Greece. After that he continued to be a monk in Monastery of Proussos and finally in 1980 he moved in Monastery of Docheiariou in Mount Athos. In spring 1986 his monastery had remained without telephone for over five months, something not unusual on Mount Athos. One of the monks was injured in his eye but they went to the Hospital after 2 days because of lack of communications. When Mr Georgiadis (SV2RE), an ophthalmology professor, heard the story, he recommended that somebody in the monastery become an amateur radio operator, in order to guarantee communication in case of emergency. So in 1988 Monk Apollo obtained his radio amateur license and the call SV2ASP. He needed 2 more years to get the license from Holy Council. Finally he was on the air for first time in 1990. He celebrated his 10 years on the air with the call SY2A in 2000 and he was trying to find some free time to be on the air when his monastic duties allowed him. In spite of all the difficulties he was sacrificing his very little spare time to make the voice of the Holy Mountain heard on the air and to give joy to a multitude of friends impatiently waiting for a contact. He was trying to spread, through his presence on the radio waves, a message of hope and optimism – from the ascetic world of Mount Athos to the troubled world outside. Even there are more monks who are radio amateurs in Mount Athos, he was the only one on the air from Mount Athos, working DX. I met him for first time in 2001. After 2003 and my visit with K6SV (SK), me and my fellows from SZ1A club, maintained his antennas and radios. With the help of Zorro JH1AJT, we made a very good installation in 2014 which was proved more powerful from Monk Apollo… We will miss his smile, his good willing and friendship. I will never forget the times he waked up in the middle of the night to make skeds with amateurs needing Mount Athos for a new one. I was lucky to have him as a friend. His prayers helped me, my family and many others. Many hams visited him and became better Christians. Some of them became Orthodox. Ham radio will find another operator sooner or later from Mount Athos (according my infos, Monastery of Docheiariou will take care so another monk become radio amateur soon and get Monk Apollo’s place and duties). But we always miss him and his warm embrace… RIP. Kostas SV1DPI
[MAY 5 @ 22:00z] Masa, JE1LET reports that, sadly, Monk Apollo SV2ASP (QTH: Mt Athos) is now Silent Key.