Just as a heads up, you'll need a blessing for a weekend at St. Anthony's if you aren't Orthodox. Likewise for time spent at Xeropotamou, but I can't speak for the others, except for perhaps Philotheou and maybe St. Andrew Skete. Some great advice already given. My question would be: If you aren't Orthodox, why do you want to go, other than to sight see? I mean it in the most genuine manner. If you are seeking spiritual counsel, have you sought it locally first? The recommendation of visiting St. Anthony's is a great one. It will do much to quell any loose ends in terms of expectations. Mt. Athos is a long ways to go without a plan. Especially as a non-Orthodox, a guide-less mission might lead to more disappointments than otherwise. I recommend calling St. Anthony's if you are able to make that visit ahead of time. If you have a blessing to stay, try to arrange a time to meet with Geronda Paisios, perhaps during one of his confession blocks. Let the guest master or bookstore clerk know your purpose for coming, whether it is to seek counsel before going to the Holy Mountain, or whatever it may be. Let them know you are not Orthodox. These things will prepare them and yourself for a more guided journey. If Philotheou, Xeropotamou, St. Andrew Skete (those connected to St. Anthony's) are not recommended to visit for you at this time, they (or Geronda Paisios) may have a better recommendation for you, and perhaps even a direct connection for you to more easily make the journey once on the Mountain.
As a sidenote, and slight correction to Paul Cowan, Geronda Ephraim, the spiritual Father of St. Anthony's, came from Philotheou, but his spiritual brother headed Vatopedi. Geronda Ephraim isn't an English speaker, and those pilgrims are typically directed to the other abbot, Geronda Paisios. Geronda Ephraim's spiritual children are the abbots/spiritual fathers of St. Andrew Skete (Fr. Ephraim), Philotheou (Fr. Lukas? I could be wrong), and Xeropotamou (Fr. Iosiph). Fr. Lukas gave a wonderful homily outdoors overlooking the beautiful mountain side and sea when I stayed at Philotheou. Fr. Isidoros (https://lessonsfroma...nt-of-holiness/) was also there, and many had spoken about his blessed clairvoyance.
Edited by Anthony Cornett, 14 February 2015 - 04:54 AM.