Mount Athos
Overview
 
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 in Macedonia
Macedonia (Greece)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. A World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 of the Hellenic Republic
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople , part of the wider Orthodox Church, is one of the fourteen autocephalous churches within the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the "Holy Mountain" . In Classical times, the peninsula was called Akté (Ακτή) (sometimes Acte or Akte).

The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Halkidiki peninsula, protrudes 50 kilometres (31 mi) into the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 at a width of between 7 and 12 km (4.3 and 7.5 mi) and covers an area of 335.637 square kilometres (129.59 sq mi).
Encyclopedia
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 in Macedonia
Macedonia (Greece)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. A World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 of the Hellenic Republic
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople , part of the wider Orthodox Church, is one of the fourteen autocephalous churches within the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the "Holy Mountain" . In Classical times, the peninsula was called Akté (Ακτή) (sometimes Acte or Akte).

The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Halkidiki peninsula, protrudes 50 kilometres (31 mi) into the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 at a width of between 7 and 12 km (4.3 and 7.5 mi) and covers an area of 335.637 square kilometres (129.59 sq mi). The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2033 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
Mardonius
Mardonius was a leading Persian military commander during the Persian Wars with Greece in the early 5th century BC.-Early years:Mardonius was the son of Gobryas, a Persian nobleman who had assisted the Achaemenid prince Darius when he claimed the throne...

 (Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 "Histories" book VI (Erato), Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

 "The Persians"). In 411 BC the Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns lost a fleet of 50 ships under admiral Epicleas. (Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, "Bibliotheca historica" XIII 41, 1–3).

Though land-linked, Mount Athos is practically accessible only by boat. There are two large ferries, Agios Panteleimon and Axion Estin, that travel daily (weather permitting) between Ouranoupolis and Dafni, with stops at some monasteries on the western coast along the way. There is also a smaller speed boat, 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. The daily number of visitors entering Mount Athos is restricted and all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos, which is called "Garden of the Virgin" by monks, and Orthodox Christians take precedence in the permit issuance procedure. Only males over the age of 18 who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 are allowed to live on Athos, either as monks or as workers.

Twenty monasteries

The sovereign monasteries, in the order of their place in the Athonite hierarchy:
  1. Great Lavra monastery (Μεγίστη Λαύρα, Megísti Lávra, Great Lavra)
  2. Vatopedi monastery (Βατοπέδι or Βατοπαίδι)
  3. Iviron monastery
    Iviron monastery
    Holy Monastery of Iviron is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece...

     (Ιβήρων; ივერთა მონასტერი, iverta monasteri) – built by Georgians
  4. Helandariou monastery
    Hilandar
    Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

     (Χιλανδαρίου, Chilandariou;Хиландар) – Serbian Orthodox
  5. Dionysiou monastery
    Dionysiou monastery
    Dionysiou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece in southwest part of Athos peninsula. The monastery ranks fifth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries...

     (Διονυσίου)
  6. Koutloumousiou monastery
    Koutloumousiou monastery
    Koutloumousiou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. The monastery ranks sixth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries....

     (Κουτλουμούσι)
  7. Pantokratoros monastery
    Pantokratoros monastery
    Pantokratoros monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. It stands on the north-eastern side of the Athos peninsula, and dedicated to the Transfiguration of Our Lord...

     (Παντοκράτορος, Pantokratoros)
  8. Xiropotamou monastery (Ξηροποτάμου)
  9. Zografou monastery
    Zograf Monastery
    The Saint George the Zograf Monastery or Zograf Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece...

     (Ζωγράφου; Зограф) – Bulgarian Orthodox
  10. Dochiariou monastery
    Dochiariou monastery
    Dochiariou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.It was founded in the 10th century, and is dedicated to the memory of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. It celebrates its patronal feastday on November 8th...

     (Δοχειαρίου)
  11. Karakalou monastery
    Karakalou monastery
    Karakalou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. It stands on the south-eastern side of the Athos peninsula....

     (Καρακάλλου)
  12. Filotheou monastery (Φιλοθέου)
  13. Simonos Petras monastery (Σίμωνος Πέτρα or Σιμωνόπετρα)
  14. Agiou Pavlou monastery
    Agiou Pavlou monastery
    Agiou Pavlou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos, located on the easternmost peninsula of Chalkidiki, Greece....

     (Αγίου Παύλου, Agiou Pavlou, Saint Paul's)
  15. Stavronikita monastery
    Stavronikita monastery
    Stavronikita monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to Saint Nicholas. It is built on top of a rock near the sea near the middle of the eastern shore of the Athonite peninsula, located between the monasteries of Iviron and Pantokratoros...

     (Σταυρονικήτα)
  16. Xenophontos monastery
    Xenophontos monastery
    Xenophontos monastery is an Orthodox Christian monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.It is built by the sea, standing on the western shore of the Athos peninsula. It was built in the tenth or eleventh century. The monastery is dedicated to St George and has 11 chapels inside and...

     (Ξενοφώντος)
  17. Osiou Grigoriou monastery (Οσίου Γρηγορίου, Venerable Gregory)
  18. Esphigmenou monastery
    Esphigmenou Monastery
    Esphigmenou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. It is built next to the sea at the northern part of the Athonite peninsula. Located near the Hilandar monastery, it is the northernmost of all Athonite...

     (Εσφιγμένου)
  19. Agiou Panteleimonos monastery (Αγίου Παντελεήμονος, Agiou Panteleimonos, Saint Pantelemon; Пантелеймонов; or Ρωσικόν, Rossikon) – Russian Orthodox
  20. Konstamonitou monastery
    Konstamonitou monastery
    The Konstamonitou monastery or Kastamonitou monastery is an Orthodox Christian monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. It stands on the southeastern side of the Athos peninsula. The monastery ranks twentieth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries.The monastery was founded...

     (Κωνσταμονίτου)

Twelve sketes

A skete
Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

 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 12 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
Prodromos (Mount Athos)
The Romanian Skete Prodromos is a Romanian cenobitic skete belonging to the Great Lavra Monastery, located in the eastern extremity of the Eastern Orthodox Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Athos, between the Aegean Sea in the East and the peak of Athos rising 2033 m in the West, nearby the...


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
Lakkoskiti
Lakkoskiti is the short form name of a small "monastic village" of not more than 15 "huts" consisting the idiorrhythmic "skete of Aghiou Dimitriou tou Lakkou"...


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 – Russian

Antiquity

In the context of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Athos was the name of one of the Gigantes
Gigantes
In Greek mythology, the Giants were the children of Gaia, who was fertilized by the blood of Uranus, after Uranus was castrated by his son Cronus...

 that challenged the Greek gods during the Gigantomachia
Gigantomachy
In Greek mythology, Gigantomachy was the symbolic struggle between the cosmic order of the Olympians led by Zeus and the nether forces of Chaos led by the giant Alcyoneus...

. Athos threw a massive rock against Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 which fell in the Aegean sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and became the Athonite Peninsula. According to another version of the story, Poseidon used the mountain to bury the defeated giant.

Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 tells us that Pelasgians
Pelasgians
The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that were either the ancestors of the Greeks or who preceded the Greeks in Greece, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world." In general, "Pelasgian" has come...

 from the island of Lemnos
Lemnos
Lemnos is an island of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos peripheral unit, which is part of the North Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina...

 populated the peninsula, then called Acte or Akte. (Herodotus, VII:22) Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 reports of five cities on the peninsula: Dion (Dium), Cleonae
Cleonae (Chalcidice)
Cleonae or Cleonæ or Kleonai was an ancient city on the Akte peninsula , on its western coast, northwest of Thyssos . Mentioned by Strabo, it was colonized by Euboean colonists from Chalcis....

 (Kleonai), Thyssos (Thyssus), Olophyxos (Olophyxis), Acrothoï (Akrothoön), of which the last is near the crest. (Strabo, Geography, VII:33:1) Eretria
Eretria
Erétria was a polis in Ancient Greece, located on the western coast of the island of Euboea, south of Chalcis, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow Euboean Gulf. Eretria was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC. However, it lost its importance already in antiquity...

 also established colonies on Acte. Two other cities were established in the Classical period: Acanthus
Acanthus (Greece)
Ierissos Modern Greek: or Acanthus was an ancient Greek city on the Athos peninsula. It was located on the north-east side of Akti, on the most eastern peninsula of Chalcidice...

 (Akanthos) and Sane. 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 to carve 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 at some time before the 7th century AD.

Early Christianity

According to the athonite tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was sailing accompanied by St John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

 from Joppa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 to visit Lazarus
Lazarus of Bethany
Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, is the subject of a prominent miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus restores him to life four days after his death...

. 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 "" (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 4th century, and possibly since the 3rd. During Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

's reign (324–337) both Christians and pagans were living there. During the reign of Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

 (361–363), the churches of Mount Athos were destroyed, and Christians hid in the woods and inaccessible places. Later, during Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

's reign (383–395), the pagan temples were destroyed. The lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria
Hesychius of Alexandria
Hesychius of Alexandria , a grammarian who flourished probably in the 5th century CE, compiled the richest lexicon of unusual and obscure Greek words that has survived...

 states that in the 5th century there was still a temple and a statue of "Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 Athonite". After the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the 7th 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..."

Byzantine era: the first monasteries

The chroniclers Theophanes the Confessor
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

 (end of 8th century) and Georgios Kedrenos (11th century) wrote that the 726 eruption of the Thera volcano
Santorini
Santorini , officially Thira , is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about southeast from Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera...

 was visible from Mount Athos, proving that it was inhabited at the time. The historian Genesios recorded that monks from Athos participated at the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 of 787. 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 Near. During the reign of emperor Basil I
Basil I
Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

 the Macedonian, the former Archbishop of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 (and later of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

) 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
Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

 we read about the "...so-called ancient seat of the council of geron
Starets
A starets is an elder of a Russian Orthodox monastery who functions as venerated adviser and teacher. Elders or spiritual fathers are charismatic spiritual leaders whose wisdom stems from God as obtained from ascetic experience...

des (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 as the monastery of Kolovos is growing more and more and they lose their peace.

In 908, the existence of a Protos
Protos (monastic office)
The protos is a monastic office at the Eastern Orthodox monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.-Authority:The office is assumed by a monk who is elected among the members of the Iera Epistasia which functions as the executive committee of the Iera Koinotita — the governing body of Athos...

("First monk") is documented, who is the "head" of the monastic community. In 943, the borders of the monastic state was precisely mapped while we know that Karyes is already the capital town and seat of the administration and has the name "Megali Mesi Lavra" (Big Central Assembly). In 956, a decree offered land of about 940000 m² (1,124,230.64 sq yd) to the Xiropotamou 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 builds the big central church of the "Protaton" in Karies. In the next year, with the support of his friend, Emperor Nicephorus Phocas
Nikephoros II
Nikephoros II Phokas was a Byzantine Emperor whose brilliant military exploits contributed to the resurgence of Byzantine Empire in the tenth century.-Early exploits:...

, the monastery of Great Lavra was founded, still the largest and most prominent of the 20 monasteries existing today. It enjoyed the protection of the emperors of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 during the following centuries and its wealth and possessions grew considerably. The Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in the 13th century brought new Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 overlords which forced the monks to complain and ask for the intervention of Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

, until the restoration of the Byzantine Empire came. The peninsula was raided by Catalan mercenaries
Catalan Company
The Catalan Company of the East , officially the Magnas Societas Catalanorum, sometimes called the Grand Company and widely known as the Catalan Company, was a free company of mercenaries founded by Roger de Flor in the early 14th-century...

 in the 14th century, a century that also saw the theological conflict over the hesychasm
Hesychasm
Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Byzantine Rite, practised by the Hesychast Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches,...

 practised on Mount Athos and defended by Gregory Palamas
Gregory Palamas
Gregory Palamas was a monk of Mount Athos in Greece and later the Archbishop of Thessaloniki known as a preeminent theologian of Hesychasm. The teachings embodied in his writings defending Hesychasm against the attack of Barlaam are sometimes referred to as Palamism, his followers as Palamites...

 (Άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Παλαμάς).

Ottoman era

The Byzantine Empire was conquered in the 15th century and the newly established Islamic Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 took its place. The Athonite monks tried to maintain good relations with the Ottoman Sultans and therefore when Murad II
Murad II
Murad II Kodja was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1451 ....

 conquered Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

 in 1430 they immediately pledged allegiance to him. In return, Murad recognized the monasteries' properties, something which Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 formally ratified after the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 in 1453. In this way the Athonite independence was somewhat guaranteed.

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
Stavronikita monastery
Stavronikita monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to Saint Nicholas. It is built on top of a rock near the sea near the middle of the eastern shore of the Athonite peninsula, located between the monasteries of Iviron and Pantokratoros...

 which completed the current number of Athonite monasteries. Following the conquest of the Serbian Despotate
Serbian Despotate
The Serbian Despotate was a Serbian state, the last to be conquered by the Ottoman Empire. Although the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 is generally considered the end of the medieval Serbian state, the Despotate, a successor of the Serbian Empire and Moravian Serbia survived for 70 more years,...

 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
Protos (monastic office)
The protos is a monastic office at the Eastern Orthodox monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.-Authority:The office is assumed by a monk who is elected among the members of the Iera Epistasia which functions as the executive committee of the Iera Koinotita — the governing body of Athos...

 during the era.

Sultan Selim I
Selim I
Selim I, Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain , nicknamed Yavuz "the Stern" or "the Steadfast", but often rendered in English as "the Grim" , was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to...

 was a substantial benefactor of the Xiropotamou monastery. In 1517, he issued a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 and a Hatt-i Sharif
Hatt-i Sharif
The Hatt-i Sharif of Gülhane or Tanzimât Fermânı was an 1839 proclamation by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I that launched the Tanzimât period of reforms and reorganization....

("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.

Despite the fact that 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
Cenobitic
Cenobitic monasticism is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. Often in the West, the community belongs to a religious order and the life of the cenobitic monk is regulated by a religious rule, a collection of precepts...

 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' abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

s 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
Athonite Academy
The Athonite or Athonias Academy is a Greek Orthodox educational institution founded at 1749 in Mount Athos, then in the Ottoman Empire and now in Greece. The school offered high level education, where ancient philosophy and modern physical science were taught...

 near Vatopedi monastery, the local monastic
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 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
Eugenios Voulgaris
Eugenios Voulgaris or Boulgaris or Vulgares was a Greek Orthodox educator, and bishop of Kherson . Writing copiously on theology, philosophy and the sciences, he disseminated western European thought throughout the Greek and eastern Christian world, and was a leading contributor to the Modern...

, where ancient philosophy and modern physical science were taught.

Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n tsars, and princes from Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

, Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 (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 1912, during the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

, the Ottomans were forced out by the Greek Navy. Greece claimed the peninsula as part of the peace treaty of London signed on May 30, 1913. As a result of the shortcomings of the Treaty of London, the Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War
The Second Balkan War was a conflict which broke out when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with its share of the spoils of the First Balkan War, attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 29 June 1913. Bulgaria had a prewar agreement about the division of region of Macedonia...

 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
Vologda
Vologda is a city and the administrative, cultural, and scientific center of Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the Vologda River. The city is a major transport knot of the Northwest of Russia. Vologda is among the Russian cities possessing an especially valuable historical heritage...

, and a number of troops to Mount Athos to intervene in the theological controversy over imiaslavie
Imiaslavie
Imiaslavie or Imiabozhie , also spelled imyaslavie and imyabozhie, and also referred to as onomatodoxy, is a dogmatic movement which was condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church, but that is still promoted by some affiliated with Gregory Lourie of the "Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church" , and by...

(a Russian Orthodox movement).

The archbishop held talks with the imiaslavtsy and tried to make them change their beliefs voluntarily, but was unsuccessful. On July 31 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 several imiaslavtsy monks were sent to Russia.

After a brief diplomatic conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Modern times

The self-governed region of the Holy Mountain, according to the Decree passed by the Holy Community on the 3rd October 1913 and according to the international treaties of London
Treaty of London, 1913
The Treaty of London was signed on 30 May during the London Conference of 1913. It dealt with the territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War.-History:...

 (1913), Bucharest
Treaty of Bucharest, 1913
The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on 10 August 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.As Bulgaria had been completely isolated in the Second Balkan War , and as it was closely invested on its northern boundary by Romania and on its western frontier by the...

 (1913), Neuilly
Treaty of Neuilly
The Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, dealing with Bulgaria for its role as one of the Central Powers in World War I, was signed on 27 November 1919 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France....

 (1919), Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

 (1920) and Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

 (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
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

 in a struggle where Communist efforts failed. The Battle of Greece
Battle of Greece
The Battle of Greece is the common name for the invasion and conquest of Greece by Nazi Germany in April 1941. Greece was supported by British Commonwealth forces, while the Germans' Axis allies Italy and Bulgaria played secondary roles...

 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.

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
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus , was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders,...

 in 1095.

According to the constitution of Greece, Mount Athos (the "Monastic State of Agion Oros") is, "following ancient privilege", a "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
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (then the European Community).

On September 12, 2004, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria
Patriarch of Alexandria
The Patriarch of Alexandria is the Archbishop of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation of Pope , and did so earlier than that of the Bishop of Rome...

, Peter VII
Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria
Petros VII was the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa from 1997 to 2004.-Biography:...

, was killed, together with 16 others, in a helicopter crash in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 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
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

, or movements towards reconciliation between the Orthodox Church of Constantinople and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. The Esphigmenou monastery is particularly outspoken in this respect, having raised black flags to protest against the meeting of Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople
Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I , born Aristocles Spyrou was the 268th Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1948 to 1972.-Life:...

 and Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 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
Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Communion, since 2 November 1991...

 declaring the monks of Esphigmenou an illegal brotherhood and ordering their eviction; the monks refuse to be evicted, and oppose their replacement with a new brotherhood.

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 2000. 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
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 and the EU, and aided by many academic institutions.

Administration and organization

The Holy Mountain is governed by the "Holy Community" (Ιερά Κοινότητα – Iera Kinotita) 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
Protos (monastic office)
The protos is a monastic office at the Eastern Orthodox monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece.-Authority:The office is assumed by a monk who is elected among the members of the Iera Epistasia which functions as the executive committee of the Iera Koinotita — the governing body of Athos...

 (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.

Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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 permission (διαμονητήριον, a kind of "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
Hilandar
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

 (Serbian), the Zografou Monastery
Zograf Monastery
The Saint George the Zograf Monastery or Zograf Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece...

 (Bulgarian) and the Agiou Panteleimonos Monastery (Russian).

Among the sketes, most are predominantly ethnic Greek. However, two are Romanian, the coenobitic "Skētē Timiou Prodromou
Prodromos (Mount Athos)
The Romanian Skete Prodromos is a Romanian cenobitic skete belonging to the Great Lavra Monastery, located in the eastern extremity of the Eastern Orthodox Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Athos, between the Aegean Sea in the East and the peak of Athos rising 2033 m in the West, nearby the...

" (which belongs to the Megistis Lavras Monastery and the idiorrythmic "Skētē Agiou Dēmētriou tou Lakkou", also called "Lakkoskētē
Lakkoskiti
Lakkoskiti is the short form name of a small "monastic village" of not more than 15 "huts" consisting the idiorrhythmic "skete of Aghiou Dimitriou tou Lakkou"...

" (which belongs to the Agiou Pavlou Monastery
Agiou Pavlou monastery
Agiou Pavlou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos, located on the easternmost peninsula of Chalkidiki, Greece....

). Another one is Bulgarian, "Skētē Bogoroditsa" (which belongs to the Agiou Panteleimonos Monastery).

Visiting procedure

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, 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. 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 three days, and the special diamonētērion which allows a visitor to visit only one monastery or skete
Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

 but to stay as many days as he has agreed with the monks. 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.

Most visitors arrive at the small port of Dafni
Dafni (Athos)
Dafni is a small settlement on Mount Athos. It is located on the southern coast of the Athonite peninsula between Xiropotamou Monastery and Simonopetra Monastery. It is used mainly as a port and an entry point to the Athonite monastic state, with daily ferries from the town of Ouranoupolis,...

 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.

Prohibition on entry for women

There is a prohibition on entry for women, called avaton (Άβατον) in Greek, to make living in celibacy easier for those 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.

Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls in its history: during the aftermath of the failed 1770 Orlov Revolt
Orlov Revolt
The Orlov Revolt was a precursor to the Greek War of Independence , which saw a Greek uprising in the Peloponnese at the instigation of Count Orlov, commander of the Russian Naval Forces of the Russo-Turkish War...

, during the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 in 1821, and Jewish families during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

In the 14th century, Tsar Stefan Uroš IV Dušan brought his wife, Helena of Bulgaria, to Mount Athos to protect her from the plague, but she didn't touch the ground during her entire visit, as she was carried in the hand carriage
Carriage
A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people, usually horse-drawn; litters and sedan chairs are excluded, since they are wheelless vehicles. The carriage is especially designed for private passenger use and for comfort or elegance, though some are also used to transport goods. It may be light,...

 all the time.

French writer Maryse Choisy
Maryse Choisy
Maryse Choisy was a French philosophical writer.Choisy followed an atypical path in life. Fascinated by psychoanalysis, she had the idea of introducing its concepts into her novels to better develop their characters; she then undertook to see what else could be brought to literature from other...

 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
Aliki Diplarakou
Aliki Diplarakou, Lady Russell, was the first Greek contestant to win the Miss Europe title after winning the "Miss Hellas" title at the Miss Star Hellas Pageant. Her name has been spelled in various ways, from Alice Diplarakou to Aliki Diplearakos and Aliki Diplarakos.-Family:She was a daughter...

, the first Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 beauty pageant contestant to win the Miss Europe
Miss Europe
Miss Europe is a popular regional beauty pageant among female contestants from the nations of the European continent established in 1928 and re-established at the end of World War II by Roger Zeiler of the French Committee of Elegance and Claude Berr...

 title, who shocked the world when she dressed up as a man and sneaked into Mount Athos. Her escapade was discussed in the July 13, 1953, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine article entitled "The Climax of Sin".

In 1953, Cora Miller, an American Fulbright Program
Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the...

 teacher from Athens, Ohio
Athens, Ohio
Athens is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Athens County, Ohio, United States. It is located along the Hocking River in the southeastern part of Ohio. A historic college town, Athens is home to Ohio University and is the principal city of the Athens, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area. ...

, landed briefly along with two other women, stirring up a controversy among the local monks.

A 2003 resolution of the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 requested lifting the ban for violating "the universally recognised principle of gender equality".

On May 26, 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.

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. Whilst 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
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 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. Although a number of female Members of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 have called for Mount Athos to be opened to women, the prohibition persists and a special permit is required to enter the peninsula.

Art and literary treasures

The Athonian monasteries possess huge deposits of invaluable medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 art treasures, including icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

s, liturgical vestment
Vestment
Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among Latin Rite and other Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans...

s and objects (crosses, chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

s), codices
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 and other Christian texts, imperial chrysobulls, holy relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s etc. Until recently no organized study and archiving had been carried out, but an EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

-funded effort to catalogue, protect and restore them is under way 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
Codex Athous Dionysiou
Codex Athous Dionysiou, designated by Ω or 045 , ε 61 , is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament...

.

Languages

Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 is commonly used in all the Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use: in Agiou Panteleimonos and Skiti Bogoroditsa, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 (50 monks in 2006); in Helandariou Monastery
Hilandar
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

, Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 (46); in Zographou Monastery, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 (15); and in the sketes of Timiou Prodromou
Prodromos (Mount Athos)
The Romanian Skete Prodromos is a Romanian cenobitic skete belonging to the Great Lavra Monastery, located in the eastern extremity of the Eastern Orthodox Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Athos, between the Aegean Sea in the East and the peak of Athos rising 2033 m in the West, nearby the...

 and Lakkoskiti
Lakkoskiti
Lakkoskiti is the short form name of a small "monastic village" of not more than 15 "huts" consisting the idiorrhythmic "skete of Aghiou Dimitriou tou Lakkou"...

, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 (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.

Time measurement

The Julian calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

, nowadays having a difference of 13 days from the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, is the calendar still used on Mount Athos. In 1923, as a means to eliminate the divergence existing between the religious and civil dates, after a synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, part of the Eastern Orthodox Churches dropped 13 days and adopted the Revised Julian calendar
Revised Julian calendar
The Revised Julian calendar, also known as the Rectified Julian calendar, or, less formally, New calendar, is a calendar, originated in 1923, which effectively discontinued the 340 years of divergence between the naming of dates sanctioned by those Eastern Orthodox churches adopting it and the...

, which will be in sync with the Gregorian calendar until 2800. However, the Easter date, based on the lunar cycle, is still calculated following the original Julian calendar, making the Eastern Orthodox world celebrate Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 on the same day. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople , part of the wider Orthodox Church, is one of the fourteen autocephalous churches within the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

, the spiritual head of the monastic state, follows the revised calendar.

Also, hours are not in sync with the civil time. The liturgical day begins at sunset in accordance with the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 practice (not at midnight as in civil time measurement), so the difference between Athonite time and ordinary time is not a fixed offset. Some of the clocks in the monasteries are in pairs, one of them displaying the civil time for the pilgrims who are not familiar with the Byzantine time followed on the mountain. Since sunset time varies on season, clocks showing the Byzantine time have to be continuously readjusted. Current practice is readjusting once a week, usually on Saturdays.

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 loging types exist until today, named as seats (καθίσματα), cells (κελλιά), huts (καλύβες), retreats (ησυχαστήρια), hermitages (ερημιτήρια), caves (σπήλαια), sketae (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.

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.

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
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 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.

Sketes

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 Arabic 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 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 hermetic way and the coenobitic way of monasticism, with all 3 coexisting until today.

In 1680 the ex-patriarch Dionysios III Vardalis built in 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 "idiorrythmic 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 ceonobitic community and the seclusion of a hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

) 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
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 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.

Russian post office and stamps

A Russian post office was established at Karyai in the last years of the 19th Century. This post office was selling Russian Levant stamps and, from 1910, special ROPIT (Р.Ο.П.и.Т.)
Russian post offices in the Turkish Empire
The Russian post offices in the Ottoman Empire were a set of post offices operated by Russia in various cities of the Ottoman Empire from the late 18th century until September 1914.-Earliest mails:...

 stamps overprinted with "Mont-Athos" and values in Ottoman currency.

Contemplated WW1 allied postage stamp issue

In the winter of 1915–1916 the Allied forces were considering occupation of the Holy Mountain. In anticipation of this they prepared a set of stamps
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

 which were intended for issue on 25 January 1916 for the use of the Governing body of the Monastic Community.

These stamps were produced in sheets of 12, (3 rows of 4), on board the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Ark Royal was the first ship in history designed and built as a seaplane carrier. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid and the ship was only in frames; this allowed the ship's design to be modified almost totally to accommodate seaplanes...

. Six values were produced, ranging up to one shilling, and all were printed in black but on various different paper types.

The design of these stamps consisted of a square border with the name MOUNT ATHOS at the bottom in English, the left in Russian and on the right in Greek. At the top was inscribed THEOCRACY. The denomination appeared at each corner with the English in the lower corners, Greek in the top left and Russian in the top right. The inner section showed a double headed Byzantine eagle with the effigy of the Madonna and Child in an oval on its breast.

These stamps have no official status but fall into the category of prepared for use but not issued.

Greek 1916 overprint

For political reasons in 1916 the Greek Government overprinted Greek "Campaign 1912" and postage due (1913 issue) stamps, as well as postal stationery, with the inscription "Ι. Κοινότης Αγ. Όρους" (Holy Community of Sacred Mountain). The decision was recalled before the stamps were officially issued.

2008 Mount Athos stamp issue

In 2008 the Hellenic Postal Service
Hellenic Post
The Hellenic Post S.A. is the state-owned provider of postal services in Greece. It succeeded the former government Postal Service, founded in 1828. ELTA provides a universal postal service to all parts of Greece and is a member of the Universal Postal Union...

 started issuing postage stamps for postal use only at the two post offices of Mount Athos (Karyai and Dafni). The first set of five stamps was issued on May 16, 2008. A second set of five stamps was issued on June 13, 2008, according to the published programme.

The Friends of Mount Athos

The Friends of Mount Athos is a society formed in 1990 by people who shared a common interest for the monasteries of Mount Athos. Timothy Ware
Timothy Ware
Kallistos Ware is an English bishop within the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate and one of the best known contemporary Eastern Orthodox theologians. From 1982 to his retirement in 2001 he held the position of Bishop of Diokleia...

, Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 Kallistos of Diokleia, is the President and Chairman of the society. Among its members are Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 and Charles, Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

, Heir Apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to the British throne
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

.

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.

See also

  • Orthodox Church
  • Byzantine Empire
    Byzantine Empire
    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

  • Hesychasm
    Hesychasm
    Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Byzantine Rite, practised by the Hesychast Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches,...

  • History of the Eastern Roman Empire
    History of the Eastern Roman Empire
    This article continues the History of the Roman Empire, referring mainly to the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. It begins with the division of the Roman Empire by Diocletian in 286 AD, and the founding of Constantinople as the capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine I in 330, while it...

  • List of Greek countries and regions
  • New Athos
    New Athos
    New Athos is a town in the Gudauta raion of Abkhazia, situated some 22 km from Sukhumi by the shores of the Black Sea. The town was previously known under the names Nikopol, Acheisos, Anakopia, Nikopia, Nikofia, Nikopsis, Absara, Psyrtskha...


External links

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