Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Food, supplies winched up to him by his followers

Maxime Qavtaradze, a 59-year-old monk, has taken his devotion to God - to new heights -- literally. Qavtaradze has lived a life of virtual solitude on top of a pillar high above his Georgian monastery for 20 years.

For centuries the 131-foot high pillar lay abandoned and locals could only look up at the mysterious ruins at its summit.

For centuries the 131-foot high pillar lay abandoned and locals could only look up at the mysterious ruins at its summit.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Monk, Georgia, solitude, dedication,


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When he wants to leave the Katskhi Pillar, he spends 20 minutes getting down a 131-foot ladder. Supplies are winched up to him by his followers. He only comes down twice a week to pray with his followers.

Having worked as a crane operator before taking his orders in 1993, Maxime has always had a head for heights. "It is up here in the silence that you can feel God's presence," he says.

Maxime stands by the church on top of the Katskhi Pillar looking at the beautiful view. He has lived

Pillar looking at the beautiful view. He has lived a life of virtual solitude on top of a pillar high above his Georgian monastery for 20 years


 His only visitors are priests along with a group of troubled young men who seek solace in the monastery at the foot of the pillar.
Photographer Amos Chapple paid a visit to Maxime. He was not at first allowed up onto the pillar. Chapple had to spend four days taking part in seven hours of daily prayers including a four hour stint from 2 a.m. until sunrise.

Maxime next to his cottage on top of the Katskhi Pillar. When he wants to leave Katskhi pillar, he s

Maxime next to his cottage on top of the Katskhi Pillar. When he wants to leave Katskhi pillar, he spends 20 minutes climbing down a 131-foot ladder


Finally allowed to scale the "dicey" ladder to the top, he was worried that it might be too dark to get back down. Reaching the top, Maxime told Amos that he became a monk after a stretch in prison and decided he wanted to make a change.

He first slept in a refrigerator when he first moved to the top of the pillar. He now has a bed inside a cottage.

The Katskhi Pillar was used by stylites, Christians who lived on top of pillars to avoid worldly temptation until the 15th century when the practice was stopped following the Ottoman invasion of Georgia.

Sergo Mikhelidze and a friend deliver lunch to Maxime at the top of the Katskhi Pillar by winch up s

Sergo Mikhelidze and a friend deliver lunch to Maxime at the top of the Katskhi Pillar by winch up supplies to the monk who has cut himself off from society.


For centuries the 131-foot high pillar lay abandoned and locals could only look up at the mysterious ruins at its summit.

A group led by the mountaineer Alexander Japaridze in 1944 made the first documented ascent of the pillar and discovered the remains of a chapel and the skeleton of a stylite who had perished there.

Maxime inside his cottage on top of the Katskhi Pillar. Shortly after the collapse of communism, and

Maxime inside his cottage on top of the Katskhi Pillar. Shortly after the collapse of communism, and the subsequent resurgence of religion in Georgia, Maxime decided to live atop the pillar in the way of the old stylites.


With the collapse of communism, and the resurgence of religion in Georgia, Maxime decided to live atop the pillar in the way of the old stylites.

"When I was young I drank, sold drugs, everything. When I ended up in prison I knew it was time for a change.

Maxime receives his lunch at the top of the Katskhi Pillar. His supporters winch supplies up a 131-f

Maxime receives his lunch at the top of the Katskhi Pillar. His supporters winch supplies up a 131-foot ladder.


"I used to drink with friends in the hills around here and look up at this place, where land met sky.
"We knew the monks had lived up there before and I felt great respect for them."

Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Marriage and Holiness: Pope Marries Twenty Couples on the Exaltation of the Cross Watch

Image of One of the twenty couples who exchanged their vows in the presence of Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Much of the Press, including circles of the Catholic Press, focused on the unique path which some of the couples followed to the Sacrament of Marriage; even though they had all arrived at the Altar, offering their love to the Source of all true Love, for ... continue reading


Pope Francis Gives Impassioned Plea for an End to War: What Does it Matter to Me? Watch

Image of Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

By Catholic Online

With this - What does it matter to me?-  in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry.  That - What does it matter to me?- prevents the tears.  Cain did not ... continue reading


SOLVED AT LAST: DNA testing nails Polish emigre as JACK THE RIPPER! Watch

Image of Aaron Kosminski, inset, a hopelessly insane Polish immigrant - unable to care for himself and left in the care of relatives - was able to successfully evade justice as the dreaded Jack the Ripper of 19th Century London.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

London's most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper or "Springheel Jack" slashed and killed five prostitutes in the Whitechapel district in the 1880s. Never caught, countless theories sprung up over his identity through the 100-plus years. Some postulations ... continue reading


Rare U.S. coin discovered in Britain could fetch well above a million dollars at auction Watch

Image of Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery --

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery. He uncovered a 350-year-old threepenny coin, used by America's Pilgrim Fathers. The rare coin is expected to ... continue reading


What is this mysterious ring in the Danish countryside and from whence did it come? Watch

Image of The Viking forts found so far in Denmark all match this particular style, which may mirror earlier Roman camps used in England.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists working in Denmark have discovered a distinctive ring-shaped Viking fortress, which is thought by some historians to have been used to launch an invasion of England. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fortress was found on Zealand, a Danish ... continue reading


Pope Francis Reminds Us the Church is Our Mother Watch

Image of St. Peters

By Pope Francis

The Church is our mother because she has delivered us in Baptism. Whenever a child is baptized, he becomes a son of the Church, from that day, he is in the Church which cares for him as a caring mother, she makes us grow in faith and shows us, with the power of ... continue reading


Where can they go? A million Ukrainians have fled their war-torn country Watch

Image of Ukrainian refugees at a Russian train station.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations has reported that the conflict in Ukraine, which began back in February 2014, has uprooted more than a million people, with even further mass displacement feared as fighting continues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The total includes ... continue reading


Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


Over 1,400 girls raped and abused by Muslims in English town Watch

Image of For more than 12 years a large community of Pakistanis living in England have enjoyed sexually abusing girls while officials turned a blind eye a new report reveals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a 12 year period, hundreds of children were systematically raped, beaten and sex trafficked in a northern English town, and the government commissioned report on the incident reveals that it is still going on today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Guilty? Corruption case moves forward against the head of International Monetary Fund Watch

Image of Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing charges currently in France.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one of the most powerful women in the world, has been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as a French finance minister. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter