Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Holy Mountain / ΑGION OROS

Political Situation 
The Holy Mount is a self- governed part of the Greek state, subject to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its political aspect and to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopole as regards its religious aspect.
It has been divided into twenty self- governed territories. Each territory consists of a cardinal monastery and some other monastic establishments that surround it (cloisters, cells, cottages, seats, hermitages).

Mount Athos is situated in the entire third, eastern and most beautiful peninsula of Halkidiki,
called the peninsula of Athos. It is the only place in Greece that is completely dedicated to
prayer and worship of God.
For this reason, it is called the Holy Mount.

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary with John the Evangelist, or their way to visit Lazarus
in Cyprus, encountered a stormy sea that forced them to temporarily seek refuge in the port
which is now the Holy Monastery of Ivira. The Virgin Mary, admiring the wild beauty of the
 place, asked God to give her the mountain as a present. Then the voice of our Lord was
heard saying: "Let this place be your lot, your garden and your paradise, as well as a salvation,
a haven for those who seek salvation". Since then, Mount Athos is considered as
"The Garden of the Virgin Mary".

In the 5th century AD, the first monks came to Mount Athos, who disappointed from the
boredom of everyday communal life, found this beautiful and uninhabited place ideal
 for worship their God. 

Only men are allowed to visit Agion Oros, according to the Protocol of the monastic
state. A few days before their visit, visitors have to phone Agion Oros .

The visitors, before their visit to Agion Oros will have to take their "Diamonitiria" (permit to
reside) from the offices of Agion Oros, at Ouranoupolis (on the right side of the port).
The visitors will have to be there, at least one hour before departure. In order to get
"diamonitirio" visitors must show their identity cards and pay the sum of 3000 Drs.
Foreign visitors also need: 
 A Letter of recommendation from their embassy in Athens or their consulate
in Thessaloniki
 A Permit of entry to Agion Oros from the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens
(Administration Division of Church Affairs) or from the Ministry of Northern Greece in
Thessaloniki (Administration of Foreign Affairs).

What is monasticism? 
Everyone of us is called upon to serve God in various different ways.
Monasticism is a particular calling, a very special way for a man to serve God and Humanity.
Every man has a particular gift, as Saint Paul says. The "calling" for someone to become a monk is in itself such a "gift".
God himself talks directly with the monk-to-be (using signs, indications, or man’s inner voice), or (talks to the monk) through his Spiritual Guide (Spiritual Father).
Monasticism is one of the ways by which a man can reach God. This is accomplished by solitude, prayer, exercise, obedience to the Spiritual Father service and fasting.

For a man to come face to face with God, in the special way that a monk is called upon to do so, he needs solitude and quiet, with no external distractions. Monks that need this special solitude do not live in communes, but in solitary isolation (hermits, ascetics).

Prayer is the right, the obligation and the support for every believer. For the monk, prayer is his reason for existence in this life and world. There are different ways of prayer for different situations and needs. The "Jesus Prayer" or "wish" that the monks of Mount Athos say, (with the of the Prayer Rope) consists of the words: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner". Many a book have been written about this Prayer and many more things have been experienced through it. It is also called "The Prayer of the Heart".

Obedience is one of the capital virtues of the monk. It is a prerequisite for humility, which is, by
general admission, the crown of all Christian virtues. The Holly Fathers place obedience above
fasting and prayer. The reason is that exercise without obedience gives birth to vanity and arrogance,
but if one acts under instructions, one has no reason to be arrogant. Obedience means unreserved
 surrender to God’s will. The Spiritual Father helps the monk in this matter, and his contribution is
of great importance to the progress of the monk. As a sign of his obedience to God the monk is
called to obey his Spiritual Father in all matters.
Fasting is the abstention from particular food or food in general. It is the monk’s exercise on a
physical level. Fasting aims to purify and cleans both body and spirit, and to strengthen his will.


Holy Monastery of  MEGISTI LAVRA

Holy Monastery of  VATOPEDION

Holy Monastery of  IVIRON

  Holy Monastery of  HILANDARION


Holy Monastery of  DIONYSOS

Holy Monastery of  KOUTLOUMOUSION

Holy Monastery of  PANTOKRATOR

Holy Monastery of  XIROPOTAMOS


Holy Monastery of  ZOGRAFOS


Holy Monastery of  DOCHIARIOS

Holy Monastery of  KARAKALOS


Holy Monastery of  FILOTHEOS

Holy Monastery of  SIMON PETRAS


Holy Monastery of  SAINT (AGIOS)


Holy Monastery of  STAYRONIKITAS

Holy Monastery of   XENOPHON

Holy Monastery of  ΓΡΗΓΌΡΙΟΣ

Holy Monastery of  ESFIGMENOS


Holy Monastery of  PANTELEIMON

Holy Monastery of  KOSTAMONITIS

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