Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/2/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Only monks are allowed to live on grounds

A mountainous peninsula in northern Greece, Mount Athos or the "Holy Mountain" is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty. Only monks are allowed to live on Athos. The current population hovers around 1,400.

Xenophontos Monastery on Mt. Athos.

Xenophontos Monastery on Mt. Athos.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/2/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Travel

Keywords: mount Athos, monasteries, Greece, sketes, wildfires


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Mount Athos peninsula is the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, protruding into the Aegean Sea. The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous. In 483 BC, Xerxes I had a channel excavated across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet.

Formally founded in 963, Mt. Athos is a monastic community established by monk Athanasios and established the monastery of Great Lavra, which is still the largest and most prominent of the 20 monasteries. Mt. Athos enjoyed the protection of the emperors of the Byzantine Empire during the following centuries, 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. Raided by Catalan mercenaries in the 14th century, it was a century that overlooked the theological conflict over the hesychasm, practiced on Mount Athos and defended by Gregory Palamas.

The Byzantine Empire collapsed in the 15th century and the Muslim Ottoman Empire took over. While for the most part left alone, the Turks taxed the monasteries heavily.

The monk population and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but saw new activity around the 19th century. Donations and new arrivals from other Eastern Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia brought a new vitality to the area. Each country came to exert its influence on individual monasteries.

During the First Balkan War in 1912, 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.

Mount Athos monasteries have repeatedly been struck by wildfires in recent years, including in August 1990 and in March 2004. Due to the secluded locations of the monasteries and the unavailability of suitable firefighting gear, the damages inflicted by these fires are often considerable.

Essentially self-governed, the peninsula consists of 20 main monasteries plus the capital city and administrative centre, Karyes, which is also home to a Greek governor.

In addition to the monasteries there are 12 sketes, smaller communities of monks, as well as many solitary hermitages throughout the peninsula.

In order to reduce temptation, women, beardless boys and eunuchs are completely barred from the peninsula. Even female domestic animals (with the exception of cats that control rodents and hens who provide the yolk needed for the paint used in iconography) are forbidden.

However, during the Greek Civil War, Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls, and the rule against beardless boys is not strictly enforced.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Travel

No longer lost, 'lost cities' still fascinating to visit in modern day Watch

Image of Persepolis, Iran, known as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lost cities, built by ancient man, that have survived into the present day offer the modern traveler a fascinating glimpse into human history. Elaborate structures, some constructed by societies who had yet to invent the wheel or harness fire offer testament to ... continue reading


X-ray scanner reveals a mother's bizarre and dangerous smuggling attempt Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Airport staff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, were shocked after they discovered a sleeping infant inside a luggage through their X-ray scanner. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - It was later revealed that the two-month old ... continue reading


Why are hundreds of koalas being taken from their homes and killed? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

700 koalas were taken from their homes and killed over a six month period in Australia. Put in secret culls, the authorities claim the heinous act was done to prevent overpopulation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - From September 2013 to March 2014, a colony of ... continue reading


Top 3 most disgusting tourist destinations in the world Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever imagined yourself going out of your way just to see a bunch chewed gum stuck on walls? Or have you ever thought of skinny dipping in a pool of sake with a bunch of other people of all ages and size? Each one of us has probably had more than a hundred ... continue reading


BREATHTAKING: Fearless photographer climbs great heights to take amazing photographs (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of All of 20 years of age, death-defying photographer Esty Ilabaca scales buildings and mountains -- without a harness - to take truly breathtaking images on his travels around the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All of 20 years of age, death-defying photographer Esty Ilabaca scales buildings and mountains -- without a harness - to take truly breathtaking images on his travels around the world. From Moreton on the Wirral, Merseyside, Ilabaca has parkoured -- a ... continue reading


For the adventurer in you: The top 10 exotic caves from around the world Watch

Image of The beautiful and hidden Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The hidden treasures of the world captivate the adventurous hearts of common people everyday. Caves are unique; no two caves are the same. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) Ancient civilizations used caves for places of worship or hiding. These caves were preserved and ... continue reading


Saint Kitts Railway takes visitors on a fascinating historical tour of the West Indies Watch

Image of It was decided that a railroad was most efficient way to transport the sugar from the island's dramatic interior to its capital, Basseterre. Between 1912 and 1926, narrow-gauge railroad tracks were built to meet the demand.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saint Kitts, an island some 18 miles long and five miles wide, its west side bordering the Caribbean Sea and its eastern side facing the Atlantic Ocean, regularly attracts tourists. Greeting these visitors is the Saint Kitts Scenic Railway. Called the "last ... continue reading


Even with natural beauty and historical sites, Zimbabwe rarely tourist destination Watch

Image of In the colonial days when Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, white families used to vacation here. Some of these features remain extant today.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The African nation of Zimbabwe is rich in natural beauty and historical world sites. In spite of this, tourism here is very slow, or at standstill. It wasn't always this way: Many tourists in the past would come to enjoy many prehistoric structures and natural ... continue reading


New luxury cruise ship boasts cabins the size of family homes Watch

Image of The Regent Seven Seas next ship, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, will feature one of the largest suites to be built on a cruise ship.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Regent Seven Seas Explorer promises to be the "most luxurious" cruise ship ever. Many other cruise lines have made the claim, but the regent Seven Seas Explorer cruise promises luxury suites the size of houses. An average suite will have two bedrooms, a ... continue reading


The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes Watch

Image of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes was founded to aid pilgrims who were traveling to Lourdes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is an area of ground surrounding the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France. This ground is owned and administrated by the Roman Catholic Church, and has several functions, including devotional ... continue reading


All Travel News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 42:1-7
1 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, ... Read More

Gospel, John 12:1-11
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Regulatus
March 30: Also Peter Regalado, Franciscan reformer. Peter was born at ... 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