Repairing the Monks' Internet

Continuing the discussion from Anybody @ Fusion Festival 26.06. - 30.06.2019, Germany?:


So, @alberto wants to hear the story when I repaired the Internet of the Coptic monks at the Jesus Freaks Festival :smile: Here you go.

There is a small group of Coptic monks in the Kassel area in Germany, and they have a hand for negotiating access to disused public property and then slowly restoring it, while living there. They got one military compound, where the Freakstock festival happened to which I went that year. They also have a disused Catholic monastery, which they now restore. Nobody really wanted to have that, as you have to follow strict rules that apply for restoring cultural heritage / historic sites. But for these guys, many still trained in traditional Egyptian building techniques, this works out. They live in the place and slowly renovate / restore it.

Their bishop (Damian) is a really cool guy … see picture. Everyone at the festival loved him :slight_smile: Now the Internet in their monastery was broken that day, and as I was working on IT stuff at the festival he found me and asked if I could come and fix it. So we went to their monastery, in his run-down old Mercedes C series car, and I fixed their DSL Internet access.

I got a tour of the place as well. Here are some pictures. I think ‘it’s quite inspirational for Edgeryders’ upcoming deep green building conversion project – rebuilding a historic building is necessarily about using frugal / low-tech / DIY materials and techniques.


Wow, the Coptic monastery is really beautiful… but what am I looking at in that last picture?

And you are right, the story is inspirational. How many monks are there? And how long do they take to restore a building like that? It is very large, it seems. The monasteries I visited in Italy only have fewer than 10 full monks, and maybe a couple of novices and lay brothers and sisters.

Cob bricks, and a cob plastered wall behind. It’s how the inner walls were made originally, so that’s how they have to be restored …

They are not many … 10 – 15 people maybe. The buildings are way larger than they need them, even though they also organize guest stays in the monastery. No idea how long it will take to restore everything. At the pace it was going, probably 20 years or more. But they seemed to be at ease with that, chipping away daily from that big task without any stress. (The pictures are from 10 years ago. I wonder at what stage they are now …)

It must be a very different mindset than when building or refurbishing a family home: they have enough space to live, so they don’t do the restoration for an urgent own need but for the generations of monks who will be there after them. When building a family home in Western societies today, there is a 40-50 year usage horizon at most … if there are kids, they most probably will want to live in a different city or place anyway, so it’s all about short-term personal needs only. Of course there’s no patience for a 20 year task then …

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Great story. Beautiful place.

Yes, but the comfort threshold for living is probably also lower… They don’t live in a cave do they?.. Their necessities would be very different from urban/digital/leisure lifestyles in cities…

I think there is inspiration to be taken from it though… The question is what can be borrowed,and what does need more speed to meet more demands.