|2.||The Garden of the Mother of God||17|
|7.||Athos Today: For the Monk||195|
|8.||Athos Today: For the Pilgrim||233|
Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradiseby Graham Speake
Pub. Date: 01/28/2003
Publisher: Yale University Press
Mount Athos, a peninsula in northern Greece, is the centre of monasticism for all the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Known as the Holy Mountain, it has been a monastic preserve since the ninth century and remains closed to women. This book, written by a regular visitor to the Mountain, is a history of Mount Athos from pagan antiquity to the present day. Drawing on a variety of sources, including the recently published archives of the monasteries and monastic tradition, it focuses on the people who have illumined the story of Athos from its dedication to the Virgin Mary to the renewal that is taking place there today. The first monks were anchorites, living in caves and simple huts often in the most inaccessible parts of the peninsula. In the tenth century the first monasteries were founded with imperial support from Constantinople and other parts of the Byzantine world. Both traditions survive on Athos today, the eremitical and the cenobitic, coexisting more or less happily as they have always done.
Political events in the outside world inevitably had some impact on the monastic economy over the centuries and the book describes the effects felt as a result of the Latin conquest of Byzantium in 1204, the long centuries of Ottoman rule, the Greek War of Independence, the two world wars, and the incorporation of Greece into the European Union. But the monks' way of life was not greatly changed by any of these happenings. Far more important for them were the spiritual movements and religious controversies that often split the Mountain and demonstrated its spiritual influence over the Orthodox world. Thus the book focuses on such themes as the various attempts to reunite the churches, the hesychast controversy, the Kollyvades movement, and the near domination of Athos by the Slavs. What emerges at the end is a portrait of the Holy Mountain today that despite all the storms created by political change and religious controversy is still recognizable as fundamentally the same monastic preserve that welcomed the first monks and hermits more than a thousand years ago. The renewal currently in progress is shown to be nothing less than a strengthening of the traditional Athonite way of life, for which there has never been a greater need in the world.
- Yale University Press
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