Picture by Zbigniew Kosc

The night and the starry heavens hold sway over the buildings of the monastery. It is the hour of prayer, vigilance, and of the aspiration of the soul to the divine order of things.
At half past 7 Byzantine time, the verger sounds the first talanto, and lights the lamps of various kinds - the kandiles, lousernes, phanaria, and phani - of the katholikon.
At a quarter to 8 he sounds the second talanto, and at 8 the third... [read more]


The Oldest Monastic Republic

Mount Athos is considered the oldest monastic republic still in existence. It was officially established in 963 by Athanasios the Athonite, who built the Monastery of the Great Lavra [more pictures]. Subsequently twenty monasteries and twelve smaller communities known as sketae were built. The sketae, like the monasteries, are either coenobitic or idiorrhythmic. Life in sketae is demanding since monks depend on their own work and production, which is often farming and handicraft. In addition, many monks live in kellia, kalyves, kathismata, and hesychasteria, which are various forms of small monastic communities or hermitages. The administrative centre of Mount Athos is the village of Karyes [more pictures].

Το Περιβολη Της Παναγιας (The Garden of Our Lady)

According to tradition, the Virgin visited the Holy Mountain in 49 AD. She had set sail with St John the Evangelist to visit Lazarus, bishop of Cyprus. The ship was blown off course and instead of reaching Cyprus, they came upon the imposing summit of Athos. The words of the Theotokos upon first seing the Holy Mountain are fondly remembered there today:

This mountain is holy ground.
Let it now be my portion.
Here let me remain.

Her vessel is said to have shored in a bay at Clementos. There stood in that place (now the site of the Holy Monastery of Iviron [more pictures] a temple and oracle of Apollo. Tradition records that as the Virgin set foot upon Athonite soil the air resounded with the sound of loud crashing, as its pagan altars fell and the oracle of Apollo proclaimed its own false nature. All who lived on Athos were converted and baptized by the Mother of God, who then resumed her voyage to Cyprus. [read more]

Mount Athos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maps

Some materials by courtesy of Zbigniew
Kosc, Agion-oros. orthodoxy.ru, Alexia
Amvrazi Chalkidiki.com, inathos.gr,
Macedonian-heritage.gr,
Monachos. net, MountAthos.gr,
newadvent. org/cathen,
Ouranopoli.com, Techni Editions

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