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Protos (monastic office)

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The '''protos''' ({{el icon}}: πρώτος, "first, premier") is a [[monasticism|monastic ]] office at the Orthodox monastic state of [[Mount Athos]] in Greece.
The office is assumed by a [[monk ]] who is elected from among the members of the ''Iera Epistasia'' ("Holy Administration") which functions as the executive committee of the ''Iera Koinotita'' ("Holy Community") — the governing body of Athos composed of representatives from each of the Athonite monasteries — to be the head of the Athonite monastic community.
He wields certain ecclesiastical powers, takes part in patriarchal synods[[synod]]s, and has the right to confirm and dismiss abbots[[abbot]]s, with the approval of the [[Patriarch of Constantinople]], under whose [[jurisdiction ]] Mount Athos functions as an autonomous monastic republic. In the past, the ''protos'' seems to have been given authority to [[ordain]] priests, but currently ordinations on Mount Athos are performed by the Archbishop of Thessaloniki.
The earliest historical documentation of the office of ''protos'' is from 908. The first ''[[Typikon]]'' of [[Mount Athos]] (the book containing monastic rules and regulations), published by Emperor John Tzimiskes in 972, recognized the first authority over Mount Athos which was elected by the monasteries. During the centuries that followed, the institution of the ''protos'' would at times flourish and at other times decline.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century the ''Typikon'' of 1810 was published, which assigned the ''protos'' along with four overseers and with a [[Holy Synod ]] composed of representatives from the twenty sovereign monasteries which make up the Mount Athos community.
The seat of the ''protos'' has been in [[Karyes (Athos)|Karyes]] since 911, and the primary church for the Athonite administration is called the Protaton.

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