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Hotels of Mount Athos

A hotel in Mount Athos is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Mount Athos hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Mount Athos are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Mount Athos hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Mount Athos hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Mount Athos have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Mount Athos
An upscale full service hotel facility in Mount Athos that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Mount Athos hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Mount Athos
Full service Mount Athos hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Mount Athos
Boutique hotels of Mount Athos are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Mount Athos boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Mount Athos may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Mount Athos
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Mount Athos travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Mount Athos focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Mount Athos
Small to medium-sized Mount Athos hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Mount Athos traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Mount Athos hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Mount Athos
A bed and breakfast in Mount Athos is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Mount Athos bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Mount Athos B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Mount Athos
Mount Athos hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Mount Athos hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Mount Athos
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Mount Athos hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Mount Athos lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Mount Athos
Mount Athos timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Mount Athos often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Mount Athos on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Mount Athos
A Mount Athos motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Mount Athos for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Mount Athos motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Mount Athos

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For the house in the United States, see Mount Athos (Kelly, Virginia).
  • Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain
  • Αὐτόνομη Μοναστικὴ Πολιτεία Ἁγίου Ὄρους
Flag of Mount Athos
Flag of Mount Athos
A map of Greece with Mount Athos shown in red
Location and extent of Mount Athos (red) in Greece.
Capital Karyes
Language Greek
Religion Eastern Orthodoxy
Demonym
  • Athonite (Αθωνίτης)
  • Agiorite (Αγιορείτης)
Country Greece
Government Autonomous theocratic society led by ecclesiastical council
Civil Governor
Aristos Kasmiroglou
Protos (Elder Monk)
Elder Stefanos Chilandrinos
Autonomy
• Constitutional reaffirmation
  • 1927
  • 1975
Area
• Total
335.63 km (129.59 sq mi)
Population
• 2011 census
1,811
• Density
5.40/km (14.0/sq mi)
  1. Location of the primary church (the Protaton) for the Athonite administration and the seat of the Protos (elder monk) since 911.
Mount Athos
Mt. Athos (3939757657).jpg
Highest point
Elevation 2,033 m (6,670 ft)
Prominence 2,012 m (6,601 ft)
Listing Ultra
Coordinates  / 40.15722; 24.32639  / 40.15722; 24.32639
Geography
Location Greece
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Type Mixed
Criteria i, ii, iv, v, vi, vii
Designated 1988 (12th session)
Reference no. 454
State Party Greece
Region Europe and North America

Mount Athos (/ˈæθɒs/; Greek: Άθως [ˈaθos]) is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic under the official name Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain (Greek: Αὐτόνομη Μοναστικὴ Πολιτεία Ἁγίου Ὄρους). Mount Athos is home to 20 monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Mount Athos is commonly referred to in Greek as the "Holy Mountain" (Greek: Ἅγιον Ὄρος, Agion Oros [ˈaʝ(i)o(n) ˈoros]) and the entity as the "Athonite State" (Greek: Αθωνική Πολιτεία, Athoniki Politia). Other languages of orthodox tradition also use names translating to "Holy Mountain" (e.g. Bulgarian and Serbian Света гора, Russian Святая Гора, Georgian მთაწმინდა). In the classical era, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was known as Acté or Akté (Ἀκτή).

Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1988.

Although Mount Athos is technically part of the European Union like the rest of Greece, the status of the Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, and the jurisdiction of the Athonite institutions, were expressly described and ratified upon admission of Greece to the European Community (precursor to the EU). The free movement of people and goods in its territory is prohibited, unless formal permission is granted by the Monastic State's authorities, and only males are allowed to enter.

Mount Athos: Geography

Map of Mount Athos
A 3D model of Athos
The peninsula as seen from the summit of Mount Athos (  / 40.15778; 24.32667), looking north-west

The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula in central Macedonia, protrudes 50 kilometres (31 mi) into the Aegean Sea at a width of between 7 and 12 kilometres (4.3 and 7.5 mi) and covers an area of 335.6 square kilometres (129.58 sq mi). The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 metres (6,670 ft). The surrounding seas, especially at the end of the peninsula, can be dangerous. In ancient Greek history two fleet disasters in the area are recorded: In 492 BC Darius, the king of Persia, lost 300 ships under general Mardonius (Herodotus "Histories" book VI (Erato), Aeschylus "The Persians"). In 411 BC the Spartans lost a fleet of 50 ships under admiral Epicleas. (Diodorus Siculus, "Bibliotheca historica" XIII 41, 1–3).

Though land-linked, Mount Athos is practically accessible only by ferry. The Agios Panteleimon and Axion Estin travel daily (weather permitting) between Ouranoupolis and Dafni, with stops at some monasteries on the western coast. There is also a smaller speed boat, the Agia Anna, which travels the same route, but with no intermediate stops. It is possible to travel by ferry to and from Ierissos for direct access to monasteries along the eastern coast.

Mount Athos: Access

The number of daily visitors to Mount Athos is restricted, and all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only males are permitted to visit the territory, which is called the "Garden of Virgin Mary" by the monks, with Orthodox Christians taking precedence in permit issuance procedures. Residents on the peninsula must be males aged 18 and over who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and also either monks or workers.

Mount Athos: History

Mount Athos: Antiquity

Athos in Greek mythology is the name of one of the Gigantes that challenged the Greek gods during the Gigantomachia. Athos threw a massive rock against Poseidon which fell in the Aegean sea and became Mount Athos. According to another version of the story, Poseidon used the mountain to bury the defeated giant.

Homer mentions the mountain Athos in the Iliad. Herodotus writes that, during the Persian invasion of Thrace in 492 BC, the fleet of the Persian commander Mardonius was wrecked, with losses of 300 ships and 20,000 men, by a strong North wind while attempting to round the coast near Mount Athos. Herodotus mentions the peninsula, then called Acte, telling us that Pelasgians from the island of Lemnos populated it and naming five cities thereon, Sane, Cleonae (Kleonai), Thyssos (Thyssus), Olophyxos (Olophyxis), and Acrothoï (Akrothoön). Strabo also mentions the cities of Dion (Dium) and Acrothoï. Eretria also established colonies on Acte. At least one other city was established in the Classical period: Acanthus (Akanthos). Some of these cities minted their own coins.

The peninsula was on the invasion route of Xerxes I, who spent three years excavating a channel across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC. After the death of Alexander the Great, the architect Dinocrates (Deinokrates) proposed carving the entire mountain into a statue of Alexander.

The history of the peninsula during latter ages is shrouded by the lack of historical accounts. Archaeologists have not been able to determine the exact location of the cities reported by Strabo. It is believed that they must have been deserted when Athos' new inhabitants, the monks, started arriving some time before the ninth century AD.

Mount Athos: Early Christianity

According to the Athonite tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was sailing accompanied by St John the Evangelist from Joppa to Cyprus to visit Lazarus. When the ship was blown off course to then-pagan Athos, it was forced to anchor near the port of Klement, close to the present monastery of Iviron. The Virgin walked ashore and, overwhelmed by the wonderful and wild natural beauty of the mountain, she blessed it and asked her Son for it to be her garden. A voice was heard saying "Ἔστω ὁ τόπος οὖτος κλῆρος σὸς καὶ περιβόλαιον σὸν καὶ παράδεισος, ἔτι δὲ καὶ λιμὴν σωτήριος τῶν θελόντων σωθῆναι" (Translation: "Let this place be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved"). From that moment the mountain was consecrated as the garden of the Mother of God and was out of bounds to all other women.

Historical documents on ancient Mount Athos history are very few. It is certain that monks have been there since the fourth century, and possibly since the third. During Constantine I's reign (324–337) both Christians and pagans were living there. During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361–363), the churches of Mount Athos were destroyed, and Christians hid in the woods and inaccessible places. Later, during Theodosius I's reign (379–395), the pagan temples were destroyed. The lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria states that in the fifth century there was still a temple and a statue of "Zeus Athonite". After the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the seventh century, many orthodox monks from the Egyptian desert tried to find another calm place; some of them came to the Athos peninsula. An ancient document states that monks "built huts of wood with roofs of straw [...] and by collecting fruit from the wild trees were providing themselves improvised meals."

Mount Athos: Byzantine era: the first monasteries

Nicephorus Phocas
A Byzantine watch tower, protecting the "arsanas" (αρσανάς, =dock) of Xeropotamou monastery
Athanasios the Athonite

The chroniclers Theophanes the Confessor (end of eighth century) and Georgios Kedrenos (11th century) wrote that the 726 eruption of the Thera volcano was visible from Mount Athos, indicating that it was inhabited at the time. The historian Genesios recorded that monks from Athos participated at the seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea of 787. Following the Battle of Thasos in 829, Athos was deserted for some time due to the destructive raids of the Cretan Saracens. Around 860, the famous monk Efthymios the Younger came to Athos and a number of monk-huts ("skete of Saint Basil") were created around his habitation, possibly near Krya Nera. During the reign of emperor Basil I the Macedonian, the former Archbishop of Crete (and later of Thessaloniki) Basil the Confessor built a small monastery at the place of the modern harbour ("arsanas") of Hilandariou Monastery. Soon after this, a document of 883 states that a certain Ioannis Kolovos built a monastery at Megali Vigla.

On a chrysobull of emperor Basil I, dated 885, the Holy Mountain is proclaimed a place of monks, and no laymen or farmers or cattle-breeders are allowed to be settled there. The next year, in an imperial edict of emperor Leo VI the Wise we read about the "so-called ancient seat of the council of gerondes (council of elders)", meaning that there was already a kind of monks' administration and that it was already "ancient". In 887, some monks expostulate to the emperor Leo the Wise that as the monastery of Kolovos is grows more and more, they are losing their peace.

In 908 the existence of a Protos ("First monk"), the "head" of the monastic community, is documented. In 943 the borders of the monastic state were precisely mapped; we know that Karyes was already the capital and seat of the administration, named "Megali Mesi Lavra" (Big Central Assembly). In 956, a decree offered land of about 940,000 m (230 acres) to the Xeropotamou monastery, which means that this monastery was already quite big.

In 958, the monk Athanasios the Athonite (Άγιος Αθανάσιος ο Αθωνίτης) arrived on Mount Athos. In 962 he built the big central church of the "Protaton" in Karies. In the next year, with the support of his friend Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, the monastery of Great Lavra was founded, still the largest and most prominent of the twenty monasteries existing today. It enjoyed the protection of the Byzantine emperors during the following centuries, and its wealth and possessions grew considerably. The Fourth Crusade in the 13th century brought new Roman Catholic overlords, which forced the monks to complain and ask for the intervention of Pope Innocent III until the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. The peninsula was raided by Catalan mercenaries in the 14th century, a century that also saw the theological conflict over the hesychasm practised on Mount Athos and defended by Gregory Palamas (Άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Παλαμάς). In late 1371 or early 1372 the Byzantines defeated an Ottoman attack on Athos.

Mount Athos: Ottoman era

The Byzantine Empire was conquered in the 15th century and the Ottoman Empire took its place. The Athonite monks tried to maintain good relations with the Ottoman Sultans, and therefore when Murad II conquered Thessaloniki in 1430 they immediately pledged allegiance to him. In return, Murad recognized the monasteries' properties, something which Mehmed II formally ratified after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In this way Athonite independence was somewhat guaranteed.

From the account of the Russian pilgrim Isaiah, by the end of the 15th century half of the monasteries were either Slav or Albanian. In particular, Docheiariou, Grigoriou, Ayiou Pavlou, Ayiou Dionysiou, and Chilandariou were Serbian; Karakalou and Philotheou were Albanian; Panteleïmon was Russian; Simonopetra was Bulgarian; Pantokratoros and Stavronikita were Greek; and Zographou, Kastamonitou, Xeropotamou, Koutloumousiou, Xenophontos, Iviron and Protaton did not bear any designation.

The 15th and 16th centuries were particularly peaceful for the Athonite community. This led to relative prosperity for the monasteries. An example of this is the foundation of Stavronikita monastery which completed the current number of Athonite monasteries. Following the conquest of the Serbian Despotate by the Ottomans many Serbian monks came to Athos. The extensive presence of Serbian monks is depicted in the numerous elections of Serbian monks to the office of the Protos during the era.

View of the area around Vatopedi monastery

Sultan Selim I was a substantial benefactor of the Xeropotamou monastery. In 1517, he issued a fatwa and a Hatt-i Sharif ("noble edict") that "the place, where the Holy Gospel is preached, whenever it is burned or even damaged, shall be erected again." He also endowed privileges to the Abbey and financed the construction of the dining area and underground of the Abbey as well as the renovation of the wall paintings in the central church that were completed between the years 1533–1541.

Although most time the monasteries were left on their own, the Ottomans heavily taxed them and sometimes they seized important land parcels from them. This eventually culminated in an economic crisis in Athos during the 17th century. This led to the adoption of the so-called "idiorrhythmic" lifestyle (a semi-eremitic variant of Christian monasticism) by a few monasteries at first and later, during the first half of the 18th century, by all.

This new way of monastic organization was an emergency measure taken by the monastic communities to counter their harsh economic environment. Contrary to the cenobitic system, monks in idiorrhythmic communities have private property, work for themselves, they are solely responsible for acquiring food and other necessities and they dine separately in their cells, only meeting with other monks at church. At the same time, the monasteries' abbots were replaced by committees and at Karyes the Protos was replaced by a four-member committee.

In 1749, with the establishment of the Athonite Academy near Vatopedi monastery, the local monastic community took a leading role in the modern Greek Enlightenment movement of the 18th century. This institution offered high level education, especially under Eugenios Voulgaris, where ancient philosophy and modern physical science were taught.

Russian tsars, and princes from Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia (until the end of the 15th century), helped the monasteries survive with large donations. The population of monks and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but were revitalized during the 19th century, particularly by the patronage of the Russian government. As a result, the monastic population grew steadily throughout the century, reaching a high point of over 7,000 monks in 1902.

In November 1912, during the First Balkan War, the Ottomans were forced out by the Greek Navy. Greece claimed the peninsula as part of the peace treaty of London signed on 30 May 1913. As a result of the shortcomings of the Treaty of London, the Second Balkan War broke out between the combatants in June 1913. A final peace was agreed at the Treaty of Bucharest on 10 August 1913.

In June 1913, a small Russian fleet, consisting of the gunboat Donets and the transport ships Tsar and Kherson, delivered the archbishop of Vologda, and a number of troops to Mount Athos to intervene in the theological controversy over imiaslavie (a Russian Orthodox movement).

The archbishop held talks with the imiaslavtsy and tried to make them change their beliefs voluntarily, but was unsuccessful. On 31 July 1913, the troops stormed the St. Panteleimon Monastery. Although the monks were not armed and did not actively resist, the troops showed very heavy-handed tactics. After the storming of St. Panteleimon Monastery, the monks from the Andreevsky Skete (Skiti Agiou Andrea) surrendered voluntarily. The military transport Kherson was converted into a prison ship and more than a thousand imiaslavtsy monks were sent to Odessa where they were excommunicated and dispersed throughout Russia.

After a brief diplomatic conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I.

View of Dafni

Mount Athos: Modern times

Agiou Panteleimonos monastery, traditional home of Russian monks, was the main theater of the Imiaslavie dogmatic controversy during the early 20th century

The self-governed region of the Holy Mountain, according to the Decree passed by the Holy Community on 3 October 1913 and according to the international treaties of London (1913), Bucharest (1913), Neuilly (1919), Sèvres (1920) and Lausanne (1923), is considered part of the Greek state. The Decree, "made in the presence of the Holy Icon of Axion Estin", stated that the Holy Community recognised the Kings of Greece as the lawful sovereigns and "successors on the Mountain" of the "Emperors who built" the monasteries and declared its territory as belonging to the then Kingdom of Greece.

Political instability in Greece during the mid-20th century that affected Mount Athos included Nazi occupation from the Easter season of 1941 through late 1944, followed immediately by the Greek Civil War in a struggle where Communist efforts failed. The Battle of Greece was reported in Time magazine, "The Stukas swooped across the Aegean skies like dark, dreadful birds, but they dropped no bombs on the monks of Mount Athos". After the Nazi takeover of Greece, the Epistassia, Athos's four-member executive committee, formally asked Hitler to place the Autonomous Monastic State under his personal protection, and Hitler agreed. Mount Athos survived World War II nearly untouched, and for the remainder of the war, the monks of Mount Athos referred to Adolf Hitler as "High Protector of the Holy Mountain" (German: Hoher Protektor des heiligen Berges).

Later a "Special Double Assembly" of the Holy Community in Karyes passed the "Constitutional Charter" of the Holy Mountain, which was ratified by the Greek Parliament. This regime originates from the "self-ruled monastic state" as stated on a chrysobull parchment signed and sealed by the Byzantine Emperor Ioannis Tzimisces in 972. This important document is preserved in the House of the Holy Administration in Karyes. The self-rule of the Holy Mountain was later reaffirmed by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos in 1095.

According to the constitution of Greece, Mount Athos (the "Monastic State of Agion Oros") is, "following ancient privilege", "a self-governed part of the Greek State, whose sovereignty thereon shall remain intact", and consists of 20 main monasteries which constitute the Holy Community, and the capital town and administrative centre, Karyes, also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. The governor is an executive appointee. The status of the Holy Mountain and the jurisdiction of the Agiorite institutions were expressly described and ratified upon admission of Greece to the European Union (then the European Community).

On 11 September 2004, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Peter VII, was killed, together with 16 others, when a Greek military Chinook helicopter in which he was travelling crashed in the Aegean Sea off the peninsula. The Patriarch was heading to Mount Athos. The cause of the crash remains unknown.

The monasteries of Mount Athos have a history of opposing ecumenism, or movements towards reconciliation between the Orthodox Church of Constantinople and the Roman Catholic Church. The Esphigmenou monastery is particularly outspoken in this respect, having raised black flags to protest against the meeting of Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople and Pope Paul VI in 1972. Esphigmenou was subsequently expelled from the representative bodies of the Athonite Community. The conflict escalated in 2002 with Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople declaring the monks of Esphigmenou an illegal brotherhood and ordering their eviction; the monks refused to be evicted, and the Patriarch ordered a new brotherhood to replace them.

After reaching a low point of just 1,145 mainly elderly monks in 1971, the monasteries have been undergoing a steady and sustained renewal. By the year 2000, the monastic population had reached 1,610, with all 20 monasteries and their associated sketes receiving an infusion of mainly young well-educated monks. In 2009, the population stood at nearly 2,000. Many younger monks possess university education and advanced skills that allow them to work on the cataloging and restoration of the Mountain's vast repository of manuscripts, vestments, icons, liturgical objects and other works of art, most of which remain unknown to the public because of their sheer volume. Projected to take several decades to complete, this restorative and archival work is well under way, funded by UNESCO and the EU, and aided by many academic institutions.

Mount Athos: Administration and organization

Athos is governed by the "Holy Community" (Ιερά Κοινότητα – Iera Koinotita) which consists of the representatives of the 20 Holy Monasteries, having as executive committee the four-membered "Holy Administration" (Ιερά Επιστασία – Iera Epistasia), with the Protos (Πρώτος) being its head.

Civil authorities are represented by the Civil Governor, appointed by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose main duty is to supervise the function of the institutions and the public order. The current Civil Governor is Aristos Kasmiroglou.

In each of the 20 monasteries – which today all follow again the coenobitic system – the administration is in the hands of the Abbot (Ηγούμενος – Hēgoumenos) who is elected by the brotherhood for life. He is the lord and spiritual father of the monastery. The Convention of the brotherhood (Γεροντία) is the legislative body. All the other establishments (sketes, cells, huts, retreats, hermitages) are dependencies of some of the 20 monasteries and are assigned to the monks by a document called "homologon" (ομόλογον).

All persons leading a monastic life thereon acquire Greek citizenship without further formalities, upon admission as novices or monks. Visits to the peninsula are possible for laymen, but they need a special permit known as a diamonētērion (διαμονητήριον), similar to a visa.

Of the 20 monasteries located on the Holy Mountain, the brethren of 17 are predominantly ethnically Greek. Of the other 3, brethren are drawn from monks of primarily other origins, who become Greek subjects. These are the Helandariou Monastery (Serbian), the Zografou Monastery (Bulgarian) and the Agiou Panteleimonos Monastery (Russian).

Among the sketes, most are predominantly ethnic Greek. However, two are Romanian, the coenobitic "Skētē Timiou Prodromou" (which belongs to the Megistis Lavras Monastery) and the idiorrythmic "Skētē Agiou Dēmētriou tou Lakkou", also called "Lakkoskētē" (which belongs to the Agiou Pavlou Monastery). Another one is Bulgarian, "Skētē Bogoroditsa" (which belongs to the Agiou Panteleimonos Monastery).

Mount Athos: Visiting procedure

Diamonētērion of 1978

Entry to the mountain is usually by ferry boat either from the port of Ouranoupoli (for west coast monasteries) or from Ierrisos for those on the east coast. Before embarking on the boat all visitors must have been issued a diamonētērion (διαμονητήριον), a form of Byzantine visa that is written in Greek, dated using the Julian calendar, and signed by four of the secretaries of leading monasteries. Clergy of the Orthodox Church are required to obtain permission of the Patriarch of Constantinople. For laymen there are generally two kinds of diamonētēria: the general diamonētērion that enables the visitor to stay overnight at any one of the monasteries but only to stay in the mountain for several days (more in winter, when there are fewer visitors, than in summer), and the special diamonētērion which allows a visitor to visit only one monastery or skete but to stay as many days as he has agreed with the monks. Laymen are required to have short hair and any non-cleric arriving on Athos with long hair has his hair cut. The general diamonētērion is available upon application to the Pilgrims' Bureau in Thessaloniki. Once this has been granted it will be issued at the port of departure, on the day of departure. Once granted, the pilgrim can contact the monastery where he would like to stay in order to reserve a bed (one night only per monastery). The ferries require reservations, both ways.

The duration of the general visa can be extended by several days by personally applying at the main office in Karyes or, as is done typically for someone seeking to become a monk, by a request from a monastery.

Most visitors arrive at the small port of Dafni from where they can take the only paved road in the mountain to the capital Karyes or continue via another smaller boat to other monasteries down the coast. There is a public bus between Dafni and Karyes. Expensive taxis operated by monks are available for hire at Dafni and Karyes. They are all-wheel drive vehicles since most roads in the mountain are unpaved. Visitors to monasteries on the mountain's western side prefer to stay on the ferry and disembark at the monastery they wish to visit.

Mount Athos: Prohibition on entry for women

Sign at entrance to Mount Athos

There is a prohibition on entry for women, called avaton (Άβατον) in Greek, to make living in celibacy easier for men who have chosen to do so. Monks feel that the presence of women alters the social dynamics of the community and therefore slows their path towards spiritual enlightenment. The ban was officially proclaimed by several emperors, including Constantine Monomachos, in a chrysobull of 1046.

In the 14th century, Serbian Emperor Dušan the Mighty brought his wife, Helena of Bulgaria, to Mount Athos to protect her from the plague, but she did not touch the ground during her entire visit, as she was carried in a hand carriage all the time.

French writer Maryse Choisy entered Mount Athos in the 1920s disguised as a sailor, and later wrote about her escapade in Un mois chez les hommes ("A Month With Men").

There was an incident in the 1930s regarding Aliki Diplarakou, the first Greek beauty pageant contestant to win the Miss Europe title, who shocked the world when she dressed up as a man and sneaked into Mount Athos. Her escapade was discussed in the 13 July 1953, Time magazine article entitled "The Climax of Sin".

In 1953, Cora Miller, an American Fulbright Program teacher from Athens, Ohio, landed briefly along with two other women, stirring up a controversy among the local monks.

A 2003 resolution of the European Parliament requested the lifting of the ban for violating "the universally recognised principle of gender equality".

On 26 May 2008, five Moldovans illegally entered Greece by way of Turkey, ending up on Athos; four of the migrants were women. The monks forgave them for trespassing and informed them that the area was forbidden to females.

Female animals, chickens, cows, ewes, nanny-goats, mares, and sows are also barred except for female cats, female insects and female songbirds.

Mount Athos: Status in the European Union

As part of an EU member state, Mount Athos is part of the European Union and, for the most part, subject to EU law. While outside the EU's Value Added Tax area, Mount Athos is part of the Schengen Area. A declaration attached to Greece's accession treaty to the Schengen Agreement states that Mount Athos' "special status" should be taken into account in the application of the Schengen rules. The monks strongly objected to Greece joining the Schengen Area based on fears that the EU would be able to end the centuries-old prohibition on the admittance of women. However the prohibition persists and a special permit is required to enter the peninsula. The monks are also worried that the agreement could affect their traditional right to offer sanctuary to people from orthodox countries such as Russia. Such monks do nowadays need a Greek visa and permission to stay, even if that is given generously by the Greek ministry, based on requests from Athos.

Mount Athos: Culture and life in the Agion Oros

Mount Athos: Art and literary treasures

Jesus in Golgotha by Theophanes the Cretan, Stavronikita monastery
Decorated wall of the Catholicon, Vatopedi monastery
A fresco with Saint Mercurius and Artemius of Antioch
An icon of Jesus, Hilandar monastery

The Athonite monasteries possess huge deposits of invaluable medieval art treasures, including icons, liturgical vestments and objects (crosses, chalices), codices and other Christian texts, imperial chrysobulls, holy relics etc. However the monks consider them for their religious function only, not as "treasures" and most are in regular use for their original purpose. Until recently no organized study and archiving had been carried out, but an EU-funded effort to catalogue, protect and restore them is underway since the late 1980s. Their sheer number is such, it is estimated that several decades will pass before the work is completed.

Among the most ancient and priceless codices at Mount Athos are the Codex Athous Lavrensis and the Codex Athous Dionysiou.

Mount Athos: Languages

Greek is commonly used in all the Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use: in Agiou Panteleimonos, Russian (67 monks in 2011); in Helandariou Monastery, Serbian (58); in Zographou Monastery and Skiti Bogoroditsa, Bulgarian (32); and in the sketes of Timiou Prodromou and Lakkoskiti, Romanian (64). Today, many of the Greek monks also speak foreign languages. Since there are monks from many nations in Athos, they naturally also speak their own native languages.

Mount Athos: Date and time reckoning

The Julian calendar, which currently has a difference of 13 days from the Gregorian calendar, is still used on Mount Athos. In 1923, as a means to eliminate the divergence existing between the religious and civil dates, after a synod in Constantinople, part of the Eastern Orthodox Churches dropped 13 days and adopted the Revised Julian calendar, which is synchronised with the Gregorian calendar, at least until 2800. However, although under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the spiritual head of the monastic state, nearly all the monasteries of Athos refused to follow the revised calendar and finally, for the sake of uniformity, the patriarch asked the single monastery that used the revised calendar to revert to the Julian.

Also in use is Byzantine time, in which the day commences at sunset as does the liturgical day and not at midnight as in the reckoning of civil time, and the difference between the two varies according to the season of the year. Because the time interval from sundown to sundown is not constant, clocks showing the Byzantine time require continual manual readjusting which in current practice is done weekly, on Saturday, if the sky is clear; where the summit of Athos is visible, 12:00 is set when the last rays of sunlight cease to shine on the tip. Some monasteries also have a clock showing civil time since boat schedules run thereon (and on the civil calendar) as well as for pilgrims who may be disoriented by Byzantine time reckoning.

Mount Athos: Monastic life: monasteries, sketae, and cells

As described above, today the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos are the dominant holy institutions for both spiritual and administrative purposes, consolidated by the Constitutional Chart of the Holy Mountain. Although, since the beginning of Mount Athos' history, monks were living in lodgings of different size and construction quality. All these monastic lodging types exist until today, named as seats (καθίσματα), cells (κελλιά), huts (καλύβες), retreats (ησυχαστήρια), hermitages (ερημιτήρια), caves (σπήλαια), sketai (σκήτες) and all of them are known under the general term "dependencies" (εξαρτήματα) of the Holy Monasteries. The term "cells" can be used under a more generalised meaning, comprising all the above but sketae, and following this term we can talk about three different kind of institutions in Mount Athos: monasteries, sketae and cells.

Mount Athos: Monasteries

Some information is already given above, in the section "Administration and organization". A pilgrim/visitor to a monastery, who is accommodated in the guest-house (αρχονταρίκι) can have a taste of the monastic life in it by following its daily schedule: praying (services in church or in private), common dining, working (according to the duties of each monk) and rest. During religious celebrations usually long vigils are held and the entire daily program is radically reshaped. The gate of the monastery closes by sunset and opens again by sunrise.

Mount Athos: Cells

A cell is a house with a small church, where 1–3 monks live under the spiritual and administrative supervision of a monastery. Monastic life in the cells is totally different from that in a monastery. Some of the cells resemble tidy farmhouses, others are poor huts, others have the gentility of Byzantine tradition or of Russian architecture of the past century. Usually, each cell possesses a piece of land for agricultural or other use. Each cell has to organize some activities for income. Besides the traditional occupations (agriculture, fishing, woodcarving, spirit distillation, iconography, tailoring, book binding etc.) new occupations have been taken up, for example taxi driving, couriers, car repairing and computer services. The monk(s) living in a cell, having to take care of all daily chores, make up their own schedules. For the pilgrim/visitor it is worth experiencing this side of monastic life as well, but most of the cells have very limited or no capacity for hospitality.

Mount Athos: Sketes

See also: Skete
View of Nea Skiti

Small communities of neighbouring cells were developed since the beginning of monastic life on Mount Athos and some of them were using the word "skete" (σκήτη) meaning "monastic settlement" or "lavra" (λαύρα) meaning "monastic congregation". The word "skete" is of Coptic origin and in its original form is a placename of a location in the Egyptian desert. It is in the Egyptian desert where monasticism made its first steps. The unknown author of the "History of the Egyptian Monks" (Historia Monachorum in Aegypto), perhaps Flavius Rufinus visited the area at the end of the fourth century. He tells us: "Then we came to Nitria, the best-known of all monasteries of Egypt, about forty miles [60 km] from Alexandria; it takes its name from a nearby town where Nitre is collected... In this place there are about fifty dwellings, or not many less, set near together and under one father. In some of them, there are many living together, in others a few and in some there are brothers who live alone. Though they are divided by their dwellings they remain bound together and inseparable in faith and love". This is exactly the main idea of a "skete", the communal way, just between the eremitic way and the coenobitic way of monasticism, with all 3 coexisting until today.

In 1680 the ex-patriarch Dionysios III Vardalis built in the Saint Anne skete of the Holy Mountain a big central church to accommodate all the monks of the area and in 1689 an internal regulatory text was constituted by the monks and ratified first by the Monastery of Megisti Lavra and finally by the patriarch Dionysios V Haritonidis; and later again by patriarch Kyrilos V, who contributed in its evolution. Since then, more sketes followed on the same way, and gradually the term "skete" (within the Holy Mountain) came to be used only for the monastic settlements having an internal rule ratified by the Patriarchate.

Later on, some cells came to attract many monks, expanded their buildings and started functioning in the coenobitic way of the monasteries. Since the number of the Monasteries in Mount Athos was restricted to 20, a new term was introduced: the "coenobitic skete" (κοινόβιος σκήτη), while a skete of the traditional form was named "idiorhythmic skete" (ιδιόρρυθμος σκήτη) in order to underline the difference.

The first ones, both in architecture and life-style, follow the typical model of a monastery, that of a community living together, sharing and distributing work, and praying together daily. In contrast, the idiorrhythmic community (intermediary between the coenobitic community and the seclusion of a hermit) resembles a hamlet, and the daily life there is much like that of a cell. But there are also some duties for the community. Near the centre of the settlement is the central church called Kyriakon (Κυριακόν, that could be translated "for Sunday"), where the whole brotherhood meets for the Divine Liturgy service, on Sundays and on greater feasts. Usually there are also an administration house, a refectory for common celebrations, a cemetery, a library, storehouses and a guesthouse.

Mount Athos: List of religious institutions

Mount Athos: Twenty monasteries

The sovereign monasteries, in the order of their place in the Athonite hierarchy:

Great Lavra monastery Vatopedi monastery Iviron monastery Helandariou monastery Dionysiou monastery
Μεγίστη Λαύρα Βατοπέδι Ιβήρων
ივერთა მონასტერი
Χιλανδαρίου
Хиландар
Διονυσίου
Megistis Lavras 3.jpg Vatopedi 3.jpg Iviron monastery.JPG Hilan2.jpg 07Athos St Dionysius01.jpg
Koutloumousiou monastery Pantokratoros monastery Xeropotamou monastery Zografou monastery Docheiariou monastery
Κουτλουμούσι Παντοκράτορος Ξηροποτάμου Ζωγράφου
Зограф
Δοχειαρίου
Koutloumousiou 2.jpg Pantokratoros 1.jpg Xeropotamou 6.jpg Zograf Monastery.jpg Athos 1.jpg
Karakalou monastery Filotheou monastery Simonos Petras monastery Agiou Pavlou monastery Stavronikita monastery
Καρακάλλου Φιλοθέου Σίμωνος Πέτρα Αγίου Παύλου Σταυρονικήτα
Karakallou.jpg Mount Athos- Monastery Filotheou and sea.tif Simonopetra Aug2006.jpg Athos Agiou-Pavlou 1998 1.jpg Stavronikita Aug2006.jpg
Xenophontos monastery Osiou Grigoriou monastery Esphigmenou monastery Agiou Panteleimonos monastery Konstamonitou monastery
Ξενοφώντος Οσίου Γρηγορίου Εσφιγμένου Αγίου Παντελεήμονος
Пантелеймонов
Κωνσταμονίτου
Athos-xenophontos.jpg Athos-hagiou-gregoriou.jpg Katholikon in the Esphigmenou monastery.jpg Athos 7.jpg Konstamonitou monastery.jpg

Mount Athos: Twelve sketes

A skete is a community of Christian hermits following a monastic rule, allowing them to worship in comparative solitude, while also affording them a level of mutual practical support and security. There are two kinds of sketes in Mount Athos. A koenobitic skete follows the style of monasteries. An idiorrhythmic skete follows the style of a small village: it has a common area of worship (a church), with individual hermitages or small houses around it, each one for a small number of occupants. There are twelve official sketes on Mount Athos.

Skiti / Σκήτη Type Monastery Alternative names / notes
Agias Annas

Αγίας Άννας

Idiorrhythmic Megistis Lavras (=Saint Anne)

Agiánna

Agias Triados or Kafsokalyvíon

Αγίας Τριάδος ή Καυσοκαλυβίων

Idiorrhythmic Megistis Lavras (=Holy Trinity)

Kafsokalývia (="burned huts")

Timiou Prodromou

Τιμίου Προδρόμου

Coenobitic Megistis Lavras (=Holy Fore-runner, i.e. St John the Baptist)

Prodromu, Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul – Romanian

Agiou Andrea

Αγίου Ανδρέα

Coenobitic Vatopediou (=Saint Andrew)

Also known as Saray (Σαράι)

Agiou Dimitriou

Αγίου Δημητρίου

Idiorrhythmic Vatopediou (=Saint Demetre)

Vatopediní

Timiou Prodromou Iviron

Τιμίου Προδρόμου Ιβήρων

Idiorrhythmic Iviron (=Holy Forerunner, i.e. St John the Baptist)

Ivirítiki

Agiou Panteleimonos

Αγίου Παντελεήμονος

Idiorrhythmic Koutloumousiou (=Saint Panteleimon/Pantaleon)

Koutloumousianí

Profiti Ilia

Προφήτη Ηλία

Coenobitic Pantokratoros (=Prophet Elijah)
Theotokou or Nea Skiti

Θεοτόκου ή Νέα Σκήτη

Idiorrhythmic Agiou Pavlou (=Of God-Bearer or New Skete)
Agiou Dimitriou tou Lakkou or Lakkoskiti

Αγίου Δημητρίου του Λάκκου ή Λακκοσκήτη

Idiorrhythmic Agiou Pavlou (=Saint Demetre of the Ravine or Ravine-Skete)

Lacu, Sfântul Dumitru – Romanian

Evangelismou tis Theotokou

Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου

Idiorrhythmic Xenophontos (=Annunciation of Theotokos)

Xenofontiní

Bogoroditsa

Βογορόδιτσα

Coenobitic Agiou Panteleimonos (=Theotokos, God-Bearer)

Богородица – Bulgarian

Mount Athos: Main settlements

  • Karyes
  • Dafni

Mount Athos: Friends organisation

The Friends of Mount Athos (FoMA) is a society formed in 1990 by people who shared a common interest for the monasteries of Mount Athos. Timothy Ware, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, is the President and Chairman of the society. Among its members are Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Charles, Prince of Wales, Heir Apparent to the British throne.

The object of the society, as stated on its official web page, is officially described as: "the advancement of education of the public in the study and knowledge of the history, culture, arts, architecture, natural history, and literature of the Orthodox monasteries of Mount Athos and the promotion of the religious and other charitable work of the Holy Community and monasteries of Mount Athos." In keeping with those objects, the society is empowered "to make grants, donations and other payments for the restoration or conservation of buildings or of works of art and books of educational or religious significance on Mount Athos within the above objects." To that end the society produces publications, arranges lectures, and organizes conferences and exhibitions devoted to Athonite themes.

Among the society's publications are its annual bulletin (Friends of Mount Athos Annual Report) offering articles, book reviews and other features related to Mount Athos. It also publishes A Pilgrim's Guide to Mount Athos as well as a yearly directory of members.

Mount Athos: See also

  • Byzantine Empire
  • Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Hesychasm
  • History of the Byzantine Empire
  • List of historic Greek countries and regions
  • New Athos
  • Postage stamps and postal history of Mount Athos

Mount Athos: Notes

  1. St Gregory Palamas included this tradition in his book "Life of Petros the Athonite", p. 150, 1005 AD.
  2. However, the Easter date, based on the lunar cycle, is still calculated following the original Julian calendar, making the Eastern Orthodox world celebrate Easter on the same day.
  3. In accordance with Old Testament practice, the day is considered to begin in the evening (Genesis 1:5).

Mount Athos: References

  1. "Σύνταγμα της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας" (PDF). www.hellenicparliament.gr. 1927. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  2. "The Protaton church at Karyes". Macedonian-heritage.gr. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  3. "Mount Athos Home". Retrieved 2016-06-11.
  4. Robert Draper, 'Mount Athos', National Geographic Magazine, December 2009
  5. Athonite monasticism at the dawn of the third millennium, Pravmir Portal, September 2007
  6. Homer, "Iliad" 14.229
  7. Herodotus, "Histories" 6.44
  8. Herodotus, "Histories" 7:22
  9. Strabo, "Geography" 7.33.1
  10. Warry, J. 1998 Warfare in the Classical World Salamander Book Ltd., London p 35
  11. Kadas, Sotiris. The Holy Mountain (in Greek). Athens: Ekdotike Athenon. p. 9. ISBN 960-213-199-3.
  12. Biography of Saint Athanasius the Athonite
  13. ISBN 9780195046526. Retrieved 2017-03-15. also called Euthymios of Thessalonike, saint; baptismal name Niketas; born village of Opso, Galatia 823/4
  14. Fine, John (1987). The Late Medieval Balkans. University of Michigan Press. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-472-10079-8.
  15. Vacalopoulos, A.E. (1973). History of Macedonia, 1354–1833. pp. 166–167. At the end of the 15th century, the Russian pilgrim Isaiah relates that the monks support themselves with various kinds of work including the cultivation of their vineyards....He also tells us that nearly half the monasteries are Slav or Albanian. As Serbian he instances Docheiariou, Grigoriou, Ayiou Pavlou, a monastery near Ayiou Pavlou and dedicated to St. John the Theologian (he no doubt means the monastery of Ayiou Dionysiou), and Chilandariou. Panteleïmon is Russian, Simonopetra is Bulgarian, and Karakallou and Philotheou are Albanian. Zographou, Kastamonitou (see fig. 58), Xeropotamou, Koutloumousiou, Xenophontos, Iveron and Protaton he mentions without any designation; while Lavra, Vatopedi (see fig. 59), Pantokratoros, and Stavronikita (which had been recently founded by the patriarch Jeremiah I) he names specifically as being Greek (see map 6).
  16. Municipality of Stagira, Acanthos
  17. Kadas, Sotiris. The Holy Mountain (in Greek). Athens: Ekdotike Athenon. pp. 14–16. ISBN 960-213-199-3.
  18. Facaros, Dana; Theodorou, Linda (2003). Greece. New Holland Publishers. p. 578. ISBN 978-1-86011-898-2.
  19. Scupoli, Lorenzo; Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1978). Unseen warfare: the Spiritual combat and Path to paradise of Lorenzo Scupoli. St Vladimir's Seminary Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-913836-52-1.
  20. "The Famous Abode of Monks in Greek Hands". London Standard. London. November 16, 1912. p. 9. open access publication – free to read
  21. "MOUNT ATHOS: Failing Light". TIME. 28 April 1941. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  22. "The Hitler icon: How Mount Athos honored the Führer – Alan Nothnagle". Open Salon. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  23. Article 105 of the Constitution of Greece – The regime of Mount Athos.
  24. "Patriarch Petros of Alexandria Dies in Helicopter Crash Near Mt. Athos" (PDF). Orthodox Observer, vol. 69, no. 1210, September 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  25. "Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria died in a weekend helicopter crash". Pravda article, 2004-09-12. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  26. (French)www.orthodoxie.com
  27. Mount Athos, an IFPA (Independent Film Production Associates Limited) – Cinevideo co-production in association with Channel 4 Television, London. 1985.
  28. Schwimmer, Walter. "Human Rights Aspects of Current Problems of Mount Athos". Report to international conference: "The Holy Mount Athos – the unique spiritual and cultural heritage of modern world" (Weimar, Germany) 23–26 June 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  29. (C) 2006, ABC Design & Communication (12 November 1935). "VAGABOND – the first and only monthly magazine in English". Vagabond-bg.com. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  30. Sack, John (1959). Report from Practically Nowhere. New York: Curtis Publishing Company. pp. 148–149.
  31. The Climax of Sin, Time Magazine, 1953
  32. "Women Invade Athos Despite 1,000-Year Ban". New York Times. 26 April 1953. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  33. "European Parliament resolution on the situation concerning basic rights in the European Union". European Parliament. 15 January 2003. pp. Equality between men and women §98. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  34. Women breach all-male Greek site
  35. Why are women banned from Mount Athos? BBC
  36. One small step for womankind in an all-male Greek state The Guardian
  37. The Greek not accession treaty does not specifically exclude Mount Athos from the Convention's territorial scope.
  38. Joint Declaration No. 5 attached to the Final Act of the not accession treaty.
  39. "Monks see Schengen as Satan's work". BBC News. 16 June 1998.
  40. Greece (Center for International Economic Cooperation)
  41. Variant names: Skiathis – Sketis – Skithis – Skitis – Skete – Oros Nitrias (Nitria) – Wadi el-Natrun – sites including Deir el-Surian (Deir el-Syriani), the monastery of Maria Deipara, Kellia, the monastery Deir Abu Maqar, Qaret el-Dahr, Quçur el-Rubaiyat according to the on-line dictionary "Trismegistos" <http://www.trismegistos.org/geo/detail.php?tm=3375>
  42. BBC, Prince visits 'monastic republic'

Mount Athos: Bibliography

  • The 6,000 Beards of Mount Athos Buy book ISBN 0-85955-251-9 by Ralph H. Brewster. A guide to the peninsula, first published in 1935, detailing the landscape, monasteries, skites, and the life of the inhabitants, including customs and more not usually discussed.
  • Mount Athos Buy book ISBN 960-213-075-X by Sotiris Kadas. An illustrated guide to the monasteries and their history (Athens 1998). With many illustrations of the Byzantine art treasures on Mount Athos.
  • Athos The Holy Mountain by Sydney Loch. Published 1957 & 1971 (Librairie Molho, Thessaloniki). Loch spent most of his life in the Byzantine tower at Ouranopolis, close to Athos, and describes his numerous visits to the Holy Mountain. A fascinating travelogue. The famous Molho Bookstore in Thessaloniki may have a few copies left.
  • Dare to be Free Buy book ISBN 0-330-10629-5 by Walter Babington Thomas. Offers insights into the lives of the monks of Mt Athos during World War II, from the point of view of an escaped POW who spent a year on the peninsula evading capture.
  • Blue Guide: Greece Buy book ISBN 0-393-30372-1, pp. 600–03. Offers history and tourist information.
  • Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise Buy book ISBN 0-300-10323-9, by Graham Speake. Published by Yale University Press in 2002. An extensive book about Athos in the past, the present and the future. Includes valuable tourist information. Features numerous full-colour photographs of the peninsula and daily life in the monasteries. 2nd edition published by Denise Harvey in 2014
  • From The Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple. Buy book ISBN 0-8050-6177-0 Published 1997. A fascinating journey that begins from and constantly refers back to Mount Athos.
  • Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise by Graham Speake (Denise Harvey: Limni 2014), First Published by Yale University. Buy book ISBN 978-960-7120-34-2.

In this second edition of his acclaimed study of Mount Athos (for which he was awarded the 2002 Criticos Prize) the author takes the opportunity to revise and update his text and also to add a completely new chapter documenting the changes that have occurred in the twelve years since its first publication.

  • Ivanov, Emil: Das Bildprogramm des Narthex im Rila-Kloster in Bulgarien unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Wasserweihezyklen auf dem Athos, Diss., Erlangen, 2002.
  • Ivanov, Emil: Apokallypsedarstellungen in der nachbyzantinischen Kunst, in: Das Münster, 3, 2002, 208–217.
  • "Mount Athos". National Geographic. Vol. 164 no. 6. December 1983. pp. 738–766. ISSN 0027-9358. OCLC 643483454.
  • A website about Athos
  • Treasures of Mount Athos
  • Friends of Mount Athos (FoMA) website
  • 360° virtual panoramas from Athos
  • Information and services for visitors
  • Mt Athos: A visit to the Holy Mountain – TV documentary
  • Hilandar Monastery (in serbian) language
  • Mt Athos, HD video
Source of information: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We're not responsible for the content of this article and your use of this information. Disclaimer
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