In this article we will offer a short review of certain evidence regarding the relation of Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich with monks from Mount Athos, i. e. with Russian monks from Athos, especially with Staretz Silouan the Athonite, Staretz Sophrony Sakharov and others. The connections between Bishop Nicholai and Mount Athos have not been researched in a greater extent so far; however, the focus of this article will be Bishop Nicholai’s relations with Russian monks from Athos, i. e. with Russian monks from Mount Athos St. Panteleimon’s Monastery and Russian Athonite scetes, as well as with other Russian churchmen coming from the Athonite background.
Bishop Nicholai was connected to Russian monastic communities of Mt Ahos and he visited Russian Athonite monastic community several times during the time he served as a bishop before World War II; he was also a supporter of Russian monks. On the other hand, Russian Athonite monks visited him in his diocese and elsewhere in Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and they maintained close spiritual relations. Nicholai recognized the importance of Athonite ascetic theology, and he was aware of the remarkableness and extraordinariness of Elder Silouan’s theology already in 1930s, and he also regarded him as his own teacher.
After the World War II, although Bishop Nicholai was exiled, Russian churchmen from Athonite background nurtured friendship and relations with him, and appreciated his work and witness. Hieromonk Sophrony Sakharov and Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco were two remarkable examples of such Russian churchmen.