Mount Athos

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[[Image:Athos.jpg|right|thumb|400px|Mount Athos as seen from the ridge road]]
 
[[Image:Athos.jpg|right|thumb|400px|Mount Athos as seen from the ridge road]]
'''Mount Athos''' is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, called <font lang="el">&#902;&#947;&#953;&#959; &#908;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Ayio Oros'' or "Holy Mountain") in Modern Greek, or <font lang="el">&#x1F0D;&#947;&#953;&#959;&#957; &#x1F4C;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Hagion Oros'') in Classical Greek. It is home to 20 [[Orthodox Church|Orthodox]] [[monastery|monasteries]] and forms an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty. Only [[monasticism|monks]] are allowed to live on Athos and the current population numbers around 1,400. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km&sup2;, with the actual mountain and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m.
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'''Mount Athos''' is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, called <font lang="el">&#902;&#947;&#953;&#959; &#908;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Ayio Oros'' or "Holy Mountain") in Modern Greek, or <font lang="el">&#x1F0D;&#947;&#953;&#959;&#957; &#x1F4C;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Hagion Oros'') in Classical Greek. It is home to 20 [[Orthodox Church|Orthodox]] [[monastery|monasteries]] and forms an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty. Only [[monasticism|monks]] are allowed to establish permanent residency on Athos and the current population numbers around 1,400. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km&sup2;, with the actual mountain and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m.
  
 
The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous.  Xerxes I had a channel excavated across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC.
 
The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous.  Xerxes I had a channel excavated across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC.
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The Byzantine Empire collapsed in the 15th century and the newly established [[Islam|Islamic]] Ottoman Empire took over. They heavily taxed the monasteries, but for the most part left them alone. The population of monks and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but was revitalised around the 19th century by the donations and new arrivals from other Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, while each country came to exert its influence on individual monasteries. In 1912, during the First Balkan War, the Ottomans were forced out and after a brief conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I.
 
The Byzantine Empire collapsed in the 15th century and the newly established [[Islam|Islamic]] Ottoman Empire took over. They heavily taxed the monasteries, but for the most part left them alone. The population of monks and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but was revitalised around the 19th century by the donations and new arrivals from other Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, while each country came to exert its influence on individual monasteries. In 1912, during the First Balkan War, the Ottomans were forced out and after a brief conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I.
  
Politically the peninsula is mostly self-governed and consists of 20 main monasteries and the capital city and administrative centre, [[Karyes (Athos)|Karyes]], also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. Beyond the monasteries there are 12 ''[[skete|sketae]]'', smaller communities of monks, as well as many (solitary) hermitages throughout the peninsula. Visits to the peninsula are possible for laymen, but they need special permission.
+
Politically the peninsula is mostly self-governed and consists of 20 main monasteries and the capital city and administrative centre, [[Karyes (Athos)|Karyes]], also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. Beyond the monasteries there are 12 ''[[skete|sketae]]'', smaller communities of monks, as well as many (solitary) hermitages throughout the peninsula. Visits to the peninsula are possible for laymen, but they need [http://www.mountathosinfos.gr/pages/agionoros/pilgrims_info.en.html special permission].
  
[[Image:Xenophontos_Monastery.jpg|left|thumb|400px|[[Xenophontos Monastery (Athos)|Xenophontos Monastery]]]]
 
 
Women are completely barred from the peninsula, a fact which has earned a certain amount of fame; even female domestic animals (with the exception, some say, of cats, as well as chickens which lay eggs that provide the fresh egg yolk needed for the paint used in [[iconography]]) are forbidden. However, during the Greek Civil War, Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls. [http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010209.html]
 
Women are completely barred from the peninsula, a fact which has earned a certain amount of fame; even female domestic animals (with the exception, some say, of cats, as well as chickens which lay eggs that provide the fresh egg yolk needed for the paint used in [[iconography]]) are forbidden. However, during the Greek Civil War, Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls. [http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010209.html]
  
In modern times, the Mount Athos monasteries have repeatedly been struck by wildfires, e.g. in August 1990, and in March 2004, fire gutted a large section of the Serbian monastary, [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]]. Due to the secluded locations of the monasteries, often atop small hills, as well as the unavailability of suitable fire fighting gear, the damages inflicted by these fires are often considerable.
+
In modern times, the Mount Athos monasteries have repeatedly been struck by wildfires, e.g. in August 1990, and in March 2004, fire gutted a large section of the Serbian monastery, [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]]. Due to the secluded locations of the monasteries, often atop small hills, as well as the unavailability of suitable fire fighting gear, the damages inflicted by these fires are often considerable.
  
 
== Languages ==
 
== Languages ==
 
Greek is commonly used in all Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use, in [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon]], Russian; in [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]], Serbian; in [[Zographou Monastery (Athos)|Zographou]], Bulgarian; and in the sketae of [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou]] and [[Lacu Skete (Athos)|Lacu]], Romanian.  Today, many of the Greek monks can also understand English or other European languages.
 
Greek is commonly used in all Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use, in [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon]], Russian; in [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]], Serbian; in [[Zographou Monastery (Athos)|Zographou]], Bulgarian; and in the sketae of [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou]] and [[Lacu Skete (Athos)|Lacu]], Romanian.  Today, many of the Greek monks can also understand English or other European languages.
 +
 +
[[Image:Xenophontos_Monastery.jpg|right|thumb|300px|[[Xenophontos Monastery (Athos)|Xenophontos Monastery]]]]
 +
[[Image:Iviron_Sea.jpg|right|thumb|300px|Looking toward the sea from the main entrance of [[Iviron Monastery (Athos)|Iviron Monastery]]]]
 +
[[Image:Panteleimon_Monastery.jpg|right|thumb|300px|[[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]]]
  
 
== List of Monasteries and Sketes ==
 
== List of Monasteries and Sketes ==
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* [[Esphigmenou Monastery (Athos)|Esphigmenou Monastery]]
 
* [[Esphigmenou Monastery (Athos)|Esphigmenou Monastery]]
 
* [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]
 
* [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]
* [[Konstamonitou Monastery (Athos)|Konstamonitou Monastery]]
+
* [[Konstamonitou Monastery (Athos)|Konstamonitou Monastery]]|
  
| width="33%" align="left" valign="top"|'''The Sketes'''<br /><br />
+
| width="33%" align="left" valign="top"|'''The Sketes'''<br />
 
* [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou Skete]]
 
* [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou Skete]]
 
* [[St. Anne's Skete (Athos)|St. Anne's Skete]]
 
* [[St. Anne's Skete (Athos)|St. Anne's Skete]]
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* [[Skete of Xenophontos (Athos)|Skete of Xenophontos]]
 
* [[Skete of Xenophontos (Athos)|Skete of Xenophontos]]
 
* [[St. Basil's Skete (Athos)|St. Basil's Skete]]
 
* [[St. Basil's Skete (Athos)|St. Basil's Skete]]
* [[Provata Skete (Athos)|Provata Skete]]
+
* [[Provata Skete (Athos)|Provata Skete]]<br /><br />
 
+
'''Associated Monasteries'''<br />
| width="33%" align="left" valign="top"|'''Associated Monasteries'''<br />
+
 
+
 
* [[Cenobium of the Annunciation (Ormylia, Chalkidiki)]]
 
* [[Cenobium of the Annunciation (Ormylia, Chalkidiki)]]
 +
*[[Monastery of St. John the Theologian - Souroti]]
 
|}
 
|}
  
[[Image:Iviron_Sea.jpg|right|thumb|350px|Looking toward the sea from the main entrance of [[Iviron Monastery (Athos)|Iviron Monastery]]]]
+
 
 
<!--==Public figures: Saints, Elders and Teachers==
 
<!--==Public figures: Saints, Elders and Teachers==
 
:''n.b. only those with articles, and those whose monastery, or skete or cell doesn't have an article, are listed''
 
:''n.b. only those with articles, and those whose monastery, or skete or cell doesn't have an article, are listed''
 
*-->
 
*-->
[[Image:Panteleimon_Monastery.jpg|left|thumb|300px|[[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]]]
 
  
== External links ==
+
== World Heritage Classification, UNESCO ==
 +
*Date of Inscription - 1988
 +
*Reference No. 454
 +
*Criteria: (i), (ii), (iv), (v), (vi) and (vii)
 +
**''An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The 'Holy Mountain', which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far afield as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art.'' <ref> United Nations - Copyright © 1992-2008 UNESCO World Heritage Centre </ref>
 +
*Documentations
 +
**1988, [http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/454.pdf/ "Advisory Body Evaluation"]
 +
**1988, [http://whc.unesco.org/archive/repcom88.htm#454/ Decision "Report of the 12th Session of the Committee"]
 +
**2004, [http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/209/ Decision "28COM 15B.37"]
 +
**2005, [http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/388/ Decision "29COM 7B.32"]
 +
**2006, [http://whc.unesco.org/archive/periodicreporting/EUR/cycle01/section2/454-summary.pdf/ Periodic Reporting "(cycle 1) Section II Summary"]
 +
**2006, [http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1120/ Decision "30COM 7B.34"]
 +
 
 +
== References ==
 +
<references/>
 +
 
 +
==External links==
 +
*[http://www.mountathosinfos.gr/home.en.html A Pilgrim's Guide to Mount Athos]
 
*[http://www.mountathos.gr/active~mode~en{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000002}View.html Mount Athos Monasteries]
 
*[http://www.mountathos.gr/active~mode~en{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000002}View.html Mount Athos Monasteries]
 
*[http://www.athos.edo.gr/ Greece Mount Athos]
 
*[http://www.athos.edo.gr/ Greece Mount Athos]
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*[http://hellas.teipir.gr/prefectures/english/AgioOros/Genika.htm  Mount Athos]  
 
*[http://hellas.teipir.gr/prefectures/english/AgioOros/Genika.htm  Mount Athos]  
 
*[http://www.ortodoksi.net/tietopankki/luostarit/athos/exhibition_en.htm Athos - Monastic life on the Holy Mountain (exhibition)]
 
*[http://www.ortodoksi.net/tietopankki/luostarit/athos/exhibition_en.htm Athos - Monastic life on the Holy Mountain (exhibition)]
 +
*[http://www.doaks.org/typikaPDF/typ017.pdf Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents]. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
 +
*[http://www.vcarious.com/Travel-Guide/Greece/MountAthos.html Information for Pilgrims]
 +
*[http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/12/athos/draper-text Called to the Holy Mountain: The Monks of Mount Athos] by Robert Draper, photographs by Travis Dove, from ''National Geographic''
  
 
[[Category:Featured Articles]]
 
[[Category:Featured Articles]]
 
[[Category:Monasteries]]
 
[[Category:Monasteries]]
 
[[Category:Athonite Monasteries]]
 
[[Category:Athonite Monasteries]]
 +
[[Category:Places]]
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[[Category:Orthodox UNESCO World Heritage Sites]]
  
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[[ar:جبل آثوس]]
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[[el:Άγιο Όρος]]
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[[es:Monte Athos]]
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[[fr:République monastique du Mont Athos]]
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[[mk:Света Гора]]
 
[[ro:Muntele Athos]]
 
[[ro:Muntele Athos]]
 +
[[ru:Святая гора Афон]]
 
[[sr:Света Гора]]
 
[[sr:Света Гора]]

Latest revision as of 14:04, January 4, 2012

Mount Athos as seen from the ridge road

Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, called Άγιο Όρος (Ayio Oros or "Holy Mountain") in Modern Greek, or Ἅγιον Ὄρος (Hagion Oros) in Classical Greek. It is home to 20 Orthodox monasteries and forms an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty. Only monks are allowed to establish permanent residency on Athos and the current population numbers around 1,400. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km², with the actual mountain and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m.

The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous. Xerxes I had a channel excavated across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC.

Monastics from Mount Athos are often referred to as Athonites or Hagiorites.

Contents

History

St. Athanasius of Athos being shown the Holy Mountain by the Theotokos

Mount Athos as a monastic community was formally founded in 963, when St. Athanasius (not to be confused with the 4th century St. Athanasius the Great) established the monastery of Great Lavra, still the largest and most prominent of the 20 monasteries. It enjoyed the protection of the emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire 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 seek protection from Pope Innocent III, until the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. It 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.

The Byzantine Empire collapsed in the 15th century and the newly established Islamic Ottoman Empire took over. They heavily taxed the monasteries, but for the most part left them alone. The population of monks and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but was revitalised around the 19th century by the donations and new arrivals from other Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, while each country came to exert its influence on individual monasteries. In 1912, during the First Balkan War, the Ottomans were forced out and after a brief conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I.

Politically the peninsula is mostly self-governed and consists of 20 main monasteries and the capital city and administrative centre, Karyes, also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. Beyond the monasteries there are 12 sketae, smaller communities of monks, as well as many (solitary) hermitages throughout the peninsula. Visits to the peninsula are possible for laymen, but they need special permission.

Women are completely barred from the peninsula, a fact which has earned a certain amount of fame; even female domestic animals (with the exception, some say, of cats, as well as chickens which lay eggs that provide the fresh egg yolk needed for the paint used in iconography) are forbidden. However, during the Greek Civil War, Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls. [1]

In modern times, the Mount Athos monasteries have repeatedly been struck by wildfires, e.g. in August 1990, and in March 2004, fire gutted a large section of the Serbian monastery, Chilandari. Due to the secluded locations of the monasteries, often atop small hills, as well as the unavailability of suitable fire fighting gear, the damages inflicted by these fires are often considerable.

Languages

Greek is commonly used in all Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use, in St. Panteleimon, Russian; in Chilandari, Serbian; in Zographou, Bulgarian; and in the sketae of Prodromou and Lacu, Romanian. Today, many of the Greek monks can also understand English or other European languages.

Looking toward the sea from the main entrance of Iviron Monastery

List of Monasteries and Sketes

The Monasteries
(in hierarchical order)
The Sketes

Associated Monasteries


World Heritage Classification, UNESCO

References

  1. United Nations - Copyright © 1992-2008 UNESCO World Heritage Centre

External links

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