Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain

For over a thousand years Orthodox Christian monks have lived on the peninsula of Mount Athos, also known as Hagion Oros, the Holy Mountain. Twenty Orthodox Christian monasteries rest on the peninsula. Only monks live there. Mount Athos is an autonomous region of Greece inaccessible to the outside world except by boat. A certain number of male pilgrims are given special permission to visit. Mount Athos is a holy place whose inhabitants have separated themselves from worldly influences and cares in order to dedicate themselves entirely to living the spiritual way of life in a continual state of prayer, worship, and communion with God. They seek self-transformation, enlightenment, and union with God through divine grace.

Check out Mount Athos: The Holy Mountain, a website provided by Macedonian Heritage, for a nice introduction to Mt. Athos and information on visiting there. Investigate the official Mount Athos website, and read a Pilgrim's Guide to Mount Athos at the Friends of Mount Athos website. Really good information on Mount Athos has also been provided by and Orthodoxwiki.

Visit the Hellenic Ministry of Culture's Treasures of Mount Athos exhibition site. The full catalogue of the exhibition, including images and detailed descriptions of the treasures, is available on the site.

Neil Averitt wrote about his recent trip to Mount Athos in "Mt. Athos, Of Monks and Men," an article published in The Washington Post on Sunday, August 6, 2006. You can find a commentary on this article at

The above image of Mt. Athos is available on Wikipedia. Permission has been granted to copy, distribute and/or modify the image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".