St. Cyril's Monastery

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St. Cyril's monastery

St. Cyril's Monastery, as it appears in For Your Eyes Only (1981).

St. Cyril's Monastery was a fictional abandoned Eastern Orthodox monastery in Greece, situated at the top of a rocky precipice over 400 metres high. The location appeared in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

Film appearance

St. Cyrils is a monastery in the northern mountains of Greece and sits atop a series of sheer cliffs which was used as a refuge for the Greek resistance during World War II. Both Aris Kristatos and Milos Colombo used it as such when they fought side by side against the Nazis. The monastery is only accessible from the ground by a cabled basket. Decades later, when James Bond is in search of the ATAC system he is taken there by Columbo after deducing that Kristatos is there with the ATAC awaiting General Gogol's arrival to sell it to him.

Behind the scenes

Monastery of Holy Trinity

Photograph of the Holy Trinity Monastery.

St. Cyril's was filmed on location at the Holy Trinity Monastery (Greek: Μονή Αγίας Τριάδος) in central Greece, situated in the Peneas Valley northeast of the town of Kalambaka. It forms part of 24 monasteries which were originally built at Meteora, one of the oldest still existing of the Meteora monasteries (Meteora means "suspended in the air" in Greek). Six of the 24 monasteries are still active and open to visitors. The church was constructed between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites titled Meteora.

For the Meteora shoots beginning in October 1980[1] , a Greek bishop was paid to allow filming in the monasteries, but the uninformed Eastern Orthodox monks were mostly critical of production rolling in their installations. After a trial in the Greek Supreme Court, it was decided that the monks' only property were the interiors – the exteriors and surrounding landscapes were from the local government. In protest, the monks remained shut inside the monasteries during the shooting,[2][3] and tried to sabotage production as much as possible, hanging their washing out of their windows [4] and covering the principal monastery with plastic bunting and flags to spoil the shots, and placing oil drums to prevent the film crew from landing helicopters. The production team solved the problem with back lighting, matte painting, and building both a similar scenographic monastery on a nearby unoccupied rock, and a monastery set in Pinewood.[5]

Roger Moore said he had a great fear of heights, and to do the climbing in Greece, he resorted to moderate drinking to calm his nerves.[2] Later in that same sequence, Rick Sylvester, a stuntman who had previously performed the pre-credits ski jump in The Spy Who Loved Me, undertook the stunt of Bond falling off the side of the cliff.[6] The stunt was dangerous, since the sudden rope jerk at the bottom could be fatal. Special effects supervisor Derek Meddings developed a system that would dampen the stop, but Sylvester recalled that his nerves nearly got the better of him: "From where we were [shooting], you could see the local cemetery; and the box [to stop my fall] looked like a casket. You didn't need to be an English major to connect the dots." The stunt went off without a problem.[2]


  1. Exotic Locations. For Your Eyes Only – Ultimate Edition, Disk 2: MGM Home Entertainment.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Inside For Your Eyes Only. For Your Eyes Only – Ultimate Edition, Disk 2: MGM Home Entertainment.
  3. Bond in Greece. For Your Eyes Only – Ultimate Edition, Disk 2: MGM Home Entertainment.
  4. (2001) Kiss Kiss Bang! Bang!: the Unofficial James Bond Film Companion. Batsford Books, p.138. ISBN 978-0-7134-8182-2. 
  5. Glen, John (August 1981). "The director talks about For Your Eyes Only". American Cinematographer.
  6. Double-O Stuntmen. The Man with the Golden Gun Ultimate Edition, Disk 2: MGM Home Entertainment.

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