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Immigration laws concerning the Holy Mountain


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#1 Ken McRae

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 04:57 PM

" 'He that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' (St. Jn 6:37) In this spirit the Holy Mountain greeted pilgrims throughout the centuries. The Elders, none the less, generally like to test how serious the newcomer is in his desire to become a monk. But in the majority of monastaries and hermitages preliminary inquiries are so perfunctory that anyone who has made up his mind, and is resolute, manages to stay." ( Wisdom from Mount Athos, p.4)

While reading this passage today, I began to wonder about Greek immigration laws. Is there a "legal" process involved in immigrating permanently to the Holy Mountain? Must one obtain legal permission from the Government of Greece first? Or is this a decision left solely to the holy Elders themselves?

#2 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:39 AM

Immigration Laws are not an issue on the Holy Mountain: anyone who is made a monk is automatically given Greek nationality (under his monastic name).

With love in Christ

Alex

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 02:02 AM

I have been doing alot of research on how to be accepted to live on Athos as a Novice. I am not having much success. Any thoughts? I speak English only. I don't mind giving up my American citizenship to live there.

#4 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 09:26 AM

Dear Paul,

Having lived on the Holy Mountain, I have some advice which I trust will be of some use to you.

The first piece of advice I can offer is fervent prayer.

Prayer to Christ and your patron Saint, to discern if this is the path our Lord wishes you to follow. As the Holy Mountain is the 'Garden of the Virgin Mary', do pray especially to Her regarding all your concerns; worries, hopes, etc.

It would be good, even essential, to visit Mount Athos first to get a feel of the monastic life there.

Also, you will need to learn Greek. You can start with demotiki and work onwards. There are monks on the Mountain who speak English and other languages, but by far, anywhere you go in the Orthodox monastic world, Greek is the lingua franca amongst monastics.

The tradition is to visit the monasteries, kellies, sketes, hermitages etc, and God will tell you where to lay your foundation.

If, indeed, Athos is calling you, you will need your Spiritual Father's blessing, whom I would assume is your Parish Priest, and the blessing of your Bishop (this is absolutely necessary if one is a Priest, but even as a layman it is a good idea). The more blessings the better!

All novices who become monks on Athos automatically assume Greek nationality. I am Canadian and we are allowed two 'citizenships' - it may be the same for Americans. However, monks leave all for Christ, so family, home, country etc, no longer have the same content as they do for those not called to monastic life.

Perhaps you have already visited monasteries in the States - if not, this would be a good idea. I personally am not familiar with the monastic landscape in America, but others in the Community could be of assistance in this matter.

May our Lord and His Most Pure Mother bless your pilgrimage!

#5 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 07:30 PM

Thank you Father.
Sound advise. I have visited the Greek monastery and convent 4 and 2 hours from me respectively. Perhaps you know Father Dositheos from Holy Archangels Monastery in Kendalia Texas? Or Mother Paraskevi at St. Paraskevi Greek Monastery in Washington, Texas?

I will pray! I fear though, as is my custom to put the cart before the horse and do something out of emotion rather than spiritual guidance. I, like many, am drawn to the Holy Mountain though I have never been there. I will need to visit to make sure my presence is acceptable to Her. Or is it honestly to make sure my flesh will subcome to the living conditions? To thine own self be true. I hate that.

I will start looking into learning Greek. I won't be able then to make the excuse "I don't understand, it sounds like Greek to me." :)

I appreciate your time Father. Thank you! I look forward to participating in other forums as time goes on. I think I can ask more open questions here rather than to people I know in my Parish and them not think I am too far gone in my obsessions.

+Father Bless

#6 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 06:06 AM

Dear Paul,

You are certainly blessed to live so close to these two monastic communities. I do know some of the Fathers whom I met some time back at the Holy Monastery of Philotheou on the Holy Mountain.

These two communities will definitely give you a flavour of Athonite living. Though, in my personal experience, nothing can quite compare with the Garden of the Virgin Mary, so resplendant in Her Saints both reposed and living.

Another unique aspect of Athonite living is the daily typicon of Services. It is like prayer resonating in the heart. There is something truly heavenly and ineffable about the typicon on Athos.

I must confess that when I went there recently I was quite distressed by the disappearance of the beautiful hand-made paths, and the mode of transport which I had known, that being either walking or riding by donkey. I even missed the sound of the bells around the donkeys' knecks and the way they would call to one another, especially as the sun went down.

I mentioned this to an old friend of mine (a hieromonk) at the Holy Monastery of Dionysios, and he looked me straight in the eye and said: 'But we still have the typicon'.

As for the donkeys, a dear friend, also a hieromonk and originally from France said to me: 'You will find them at Kavsokalyvia!'

#7 Jim Rhodes

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:45 PM

Good brothers,

A long time friend and i are open to exploring the possibility of becoming monks in a monastery on Mount Athos. I am already an ordained minister and we are both practitioners of meditations from various cultures of the world. The following questions are surely trivial for some of you; however, they are concerns for both of us.

We understand that admission as a monk on Mount Athos confers Greek citizenship. This is not an issue. We are concerned with the mandatory military service that comes with being a Greek citizen. With all possible hope, the Greek government does not ask the monks on Mount Athos to fulfill this requirement, correct?

In this thread, we've also read that the nationality is under the monastic name. Is this an actual legal name change or how does that work exactly? This confuses us a bit.

Thank you all very much for reading this.

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 02:37 AM

Dear Jim,

Are you and your friend Orthodox. If not, there is no way you will be allowed to be an Orthodox monk especially on Athos. If you are Orthodox, you should first visit a local monastery before making any plans. Many of your questions will be answered there. OR ask your priest.

#9 Matthew

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:11 PM

We are concerned with the mandatory military service that comes with being a Greek citizen. With all possible hope, the Greek government does not ask the monks on Mount Athos to fulfill this requirement, correct?


That's a good question. I don't know the answer. I suppose it depends on your age.

I do know that Elder Paisios served in the army until 1949.

#10 Ken McRae

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 10:03 AM

Jim,

I've been told by a former Athonite monk that the Greek government waives this requirement for all Athonite monks; and does not require any mandatory military service from them, for any length of time.

#11 Peter Key

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:12 PM

Dear brothers and fathers,

I am curious about the nationality laws of Mt. Athos. Do you become a citizen of Athos or of Greece? Also are novices given nationality as well?

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 02:20 AM

Dear Peter, Your answer lies within this thread near the top of this page.

Paul

#13 Paul Fowler

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:25 PM

Dear brothers and fathers,

I am curious about the nationality laws of Mt. Athos. Do you become a citizen of Athos or of Greece? Also are novices given nationality as well?


Athos is part of the Republic of Greece, it is not a sovereign state in its own right like (for instance) the Vatican City. As such all monks, as Alex stated, are citizens of Greece.

Reader Paul

#14 Peter Key

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:29 AM

Thank you for your answers. The truth is I am curious about Mt Athos because I want to live in Mt Athos but I do not wish to become a monk but merely a novice. Is this possible? Is it also possible to retain Greek nationality if you leave the monastery but maintain contact with the community? I think becoming a monk is a serious decision that I would definitely like to consider over the years as novice, I wouldn't mind being in the humble ranks for the rest of my life. I would also never want to sever my connection or be deprived of Greek nationality should I be expelled or decide monastery life is not for me.

#15 Olga

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:59 AM

You would need to be baptised/chrismated into the Orthodox Church first, Peter. :-)

#16 Kusanagi

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:42 AM

You cannot become a monk on Athos without the ecumenical Patriarch's approval. He was not happy lots of Romanian monks wanted to stay in Lacu and Prodromos sketes and tried to stop them going there.




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