President Nikos Christodoulides is in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, where he is set to visit with Greek officials before heading to the Mount Athos monastery.

The Mount Athos monastery is known as the Virgin Mary’s Garden, and legend has it she visited the site before her death. Her belt, a relic kept at the monastery, was brought on a tour of Cyprus several weeks ago.

After the Virgin Mary’s death, Mount Athos was shut off to women, and men have long been the only visitors allowed at the site.

According to the deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou, Christodoulides will visit with “officials in Thessaloniki” before heading to the monastery for a two-day visit, though Antoniou was unable to provide the names of these officials when asked.

Commenting on Christodoulides’ visit to the monastery, however, he said that the president had been invited back in October, but did not go following the outbreak of the crisis in Gaza.

He added that Christodoulides’ visit will be the president’s first visit to the monastery as President of the Republic of Cyprus.

On Thursday, Christodoulides will be welcomed by a group of monks at the monastery, including the monastery leader Stefanos Chilandrarinos.

The president will then attend a church service, and bow in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary at the monastery, before visiting the church known as ‘Vatopedi’ where he will follow along for evening prayers and stay the night.

In the morning he will attend a church service at ‘Vatopedi’ and then leave for his return to Cyprus.