Ecumenical Patriarch Photius II Declared Public Anathema on Woman for Entering Mount Athos (1932)

Aliki Diplarakou, Lady Russell (28 August 1912 – 30 October 2002), was the first Greek contestant to win the Miss Europe title.


She previously won the “Miss Hellas” (Μις Ελλάς) title at the Miss Star Hellas Pageant. Her name has been spelled in various ways, from Alice Diplarakou to Aliki Diplearakos and Aliki Diplarakos.


In 1929 Diplarakou entered the “Miss Hellas” pageant as Miss Athens. Her biggest competitor was Miss Thessalonik Roxani Stergiou who came in second. Diplarakou won the title and represented Greece at the Miss Europe Even in Paris, where she was crowned Miss Europe on 6 February 1930.

Aliki Diplarakou must have been an interesting and educated character. She spoke fluent English, French, Italian (an incredible asset for a woman of her time), and toured the US giving lectures on the Ancient Greek civilization.

Αλίκη Διπλαράκου Miss Europe Aliki Diplarakou 1931

The “particular of her character” appears from the fact that she managed to disguise herself as a man and violate the asylum of Mount Athos. She is one of the few women who have tried and succeeded in the thousand year old history of Mount Athos. The conservative society of Athens disliked her anyways. After the “invasion” on Mount Athos, the Diplarakou name became synonymous with Satan.

Milwaukee Journal June 21, 1932.
Milwaukee Journal June 21, 1932.

NOTE: The following article is taken from the Milwaukee Journal June 21, 1932:

Greek Beauty Enters Forbidden Monastery

Athens, Greece (AP)–Alice Diplarakou, “Miss Europe of 1930,” dressed as a ship’s boy, scaled holy Mount Athos and entered a monastery where nothing female is allowed–not even a cow or chicken. The Greek Patriarch of Istanbul is understood to have pronounced “public anathema” on her head for the stunt.

Milwaukee Sentinel, June 22, 1932
Milwaukee Sentinel, June 22, 1932

NOTE: The following article is taken from the Milwaukee Sentinel June 22, 1932:

Grecian Beauty Denounced For Invasion of Monastery

Miss Europe Slipped Into Sanctuary in Disguise

Athens, Greece–

The daring of a Levantine beauty in entering a monastery on Mount Athos, where nothing female is allowed, even a cow, goat, dog or chicken, was understood Tuesday to have brought a pronouncement of “public anathema” upon her head.

The beauty is Alice Diplarakou, a Grecian miss who toured the United States last year as Miss Europe of 1930. The Greek Patriarch of Constantinople was reported to have pronounced the disapproval of the act.

The girl disguised herself as a ship’s boy, and accompanied by a French girl in a sailor’s costume, scaled the holy mountain and entered the monastery.

At present she was understood to be aboard ship crossing the Aegean Sea.

The Adelaide Mail (Midnight Edition) Saturday, June 25, 1932
The Adelaide Mail (Midnight Edition) Saturday, June 25, 1932

For those unfamiliar with the term “Anathema”, here is the proper Orthodox definition given by St. Nikodemos the hagiorite in his classic work, The Rudder: