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Accessibility questions for visiting Mt Athos


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#1 C. Angelis

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:50 PM

Greetings,

I have a few questions regarding visiting Mount Athos. Some may find these strange questions, but they do serve a purpose for me. To preface, I am a male Greek citizen (with completed military duty) and a baptized Greek Orthodox who lives in the USA. I am exploring the possibility of producing an educational documentary that will take place on Mount Athos. I wish to keep specifics of my idea private at this time, as I am in the research phase. Approximately 25 years ago my Grandfather went on a scientific journey (sabbatical) to Mount Athos and lived with the monks for about 7 days. His profession was that of an Architect and he got permission through the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, which he was affiliated with. I wish to continue his work, but in the form of a documentary.

1. Is it possible for me to get permission to bring and use a video camera?

2. How cooperative are monasteries on Mount Athos with regard to my situation? Would it be at all possible for me to have cooperation with an English-speaking monk (for the narrative) to interview on camera and document their daily life? I am a Greek speaker, but for the purpose of this documentary, English would be more appropriate. My activities would be entirely un-ubtrucive to the monks and the monastery.

3. If I were to stay in the monstery, would there be access to electricity for the charging of a camera or laptop?

4. Is it possible to get in contact directly with a monk on Mount Athos? I won't bother asking about email.

If use of video equipment is absolutely not possible on Mount Athos, does anyone have any information about going to Meteora and the monastery of the Holy Trinity instead, with regard to my situation?

Much appreciation,

Charles Angelis

Edited by C. Angelis, 01 April 2008 - 08:23 PM.


#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 05:15 AM

Dear Charles,

I am in no way an authority on the Holy Mountain, but as I think I am the most recent visitor from the forum, I can tell you of my experiences. Of course, for ANY real information you will need to contact the Pilgrim's Bureau and have your petition approved by the governing body in Karyes. While I was at Simonpetra Monastery I met a Labanese man who was visiting for 3 months. He got permission from the monastery itself and was ONLY allowed to be within the jusridiction of that monastery. He could not travel to others.

1. Is it possible for me to get permission to bring and use a video camera?

In general no. Although there are several books written and pictures taken even inside the churches. Depending on the nature of your project and with I suspect the help of someone on the inside, you might be able to do this.

2. How cooperative are monasteries on Mount Athos with regard to my situation? Would it be at all possible for me to have cooperation with an English-speaking monk (for the narrative) to interview on camera and document their daily life? I am a Greek speaker, but for the purpose of this documentary, English would be more appropriate. My activities would be entirely un-ubtrucive to the monks and the monastery.


Not very. You can not be entirely unobtrusive. You will be there with equipment that is out of the norm and will cause distraction not only from the monks but also other pilgrims. There are english speaking monks who can help as long as they have approval from their superiors. The deeper you get into this the more you weill find roadblocks as every one is subject to the authority to somoene else.

3. If I were to stay in the monstery, would there be access to electricity for the charging of a camera or laptop?


Yes, All the guestrooms have electricity at least those 8 I stayed in.

4. Is it possible to get in contact directly with a monk on Mount Athos? I won't bother asking about email.



Yes, although I was told not to expect a reply. Again, they are under the direction of their superior so it may be he who you are in touch with.

I am sorry, I don't know anything about other locations outside the mountain. There are permissions to scientific research to visit the mountain. You truly need to contact the Office in Thessaloniki for deeper answers.

Paul

#3 C. Angelis

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:26 AM

Thank you for the information! I only wish to stay there for a week at the most. I do understand that any equipment is out of the norm for the monks, but I do plan on going with light equipment. No lights or anything Hollywood in nature. Nothing more than what a medium-format photographer would bring along with them. I will surely have to research this more. Would this be easier done at Meteora? I have seen pictures of Agia Triada and it looks very majestic!

Simonopetra was actually the monastery I was considering visiting, based on the pictures I have seen online and a forum post somewhere saying there were outgoing English-speaking monks there.

Do you know where I can get contact information for Simonopetra? I would like to write them.

Would it be ok to write them in English?

Edited by Father David Moser, 02 April 2008 - 02:34 PM.
only one post needed


#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:02 AM

Have you been to the Friends of Mount Athos website. Here is how to mail a letter to any Monastery and their phone numbers.

Yes, the guestmaster for sure and several monks DO speak english at Simonpetra. The only Monastery that the guestmaster did NOT speak english was Koutloumousiou in Karyes, but other pilgrims helped me out. You may have better luck as I said before requesting a specifc monastery invite you to stay with them for a while, however you will not be allowed to visit any others. If you are only going to stay for a week, ask for an extension in Karyes.

Paul

#5 Paul Cowan

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 03:29 AM

I don't know if this link will take you directly to the correct page of his Blog (Benedict Seraphim), but look for the Thursday 18, 2008 entry Documentary of Mount Athos. It is a bit dated, but not too much. I wish I had seen this before I went. This is a must see for all. Be sure to watch through the end of the credits.

It brought back vivid memories and sights no one has ever seen before. (or so the speaker says). God I want to go back.

Paul

#6 Ken McRae

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:19 AM

I don't know if this link will take you directly to the correct page of his Blog (Benedict Seraphim), but look for the Thursday 18, 2008 entry Documentary of Mount Athos. It is a bit dated, but not too much. I wish I had seen this before I went. This is a must see for all. Be sure to watch through the end of the credits.


Many thanks for posting that link. I've never seen the documentary before. Being a machinist / tool and die maker myself, I could'nt help but notice the monk (in Part 2 of the documentary) who was operating the wood lathe without safety glasses, and had wood chips flying in his face. Not good! I wonder if they would wear safety glasses if someone were to provide them with a box?

#7 Paul Cowan

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:00 PM

I'm sure they would. I have always wondered about those that make incense. In powder form or just dust in the air this stuff is hazardous to your health over long periods of time (or short). I wonder if they wear breathing masks or at least cover their mouths and noses witha cloth when working with ths stuff?

Keep in mind, from the appearance of it, this is many years old video.

Paul




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