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Considering a visit to Athos


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#1 B. Douglass

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:14 PM

I will be attending a conference in Athens at the end of January and am considering a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, God willing.

Seeing as it will be the coldest of the year, what should I expect? Hopefully not many competing tourists for the heterodox spaces, I would think. How are roads between monasteries in the winter? Are some just impossible to get to?

Also, as I speak no more than a few phrases of Greek, any recommendations on English-friendly communities would be appreciated.

The other threads on here have been quite helpful, so thanks in advance!

#2 Jake A.

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 08:54 PM

I will be attending a conference in Athens at the end of January and am considering a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, God willing.


Good luck, so much for male only members of the Orthodox Church. Athos, to me, isn't what it used to be, and has become the complete opposite of what it was, caught up in nationalism, politics and greed. Of course such statements cannot and do not apply to the monks there.

Have fun on your trip, I don't know what to expect seeing as how I've never been, and probably will never go.

#3 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 11:29 PM

My adivse?

Dont forget to apply for a Visa to get into Athos! Ask an Orthodox priest local to you to give you advise on how to go about this.

January is very cold in greece (snow weather) and especially in Athos - so pack some dry and warm gear that will keep you dry and warm particularly some good walking boots. The higher the altitude in Athos the more dangerous it is ...

Pray to the Theotokos that she allows all this for you ...

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:58 AM

I assume you have been to this site. I was there today 2 years ago for 13 days. Feel free to PM me if you like.

Yes, it will be *cold* and windy and wet. Every monastery has somoeone who speaks english most times the guestmaster. Only 10 nonOrthodox per day allowed so get your diamontarion NOW. If you stick to the main road, you should be ok, if you take the footpaths, they will most likely be covered in snow and unrecognizable. Buy the map from Mr. Zwerger. It is indispensible. You will not be charged for room and board and will not be asked for compensation. It is proper to leave a "gift" behind for the hospitality. It will not be accepted though so "leave it" somewhere it will be found. I left my "gifts" in the candle holders in the church. My biggest challenge was the night stay in Ouranoupolis. You must reserve each night's stay ahead of time in each monastery. Don't expect them to take you if you just show up. They might, but not advisable.

what other questions?

Paul

#5 B. Douglass

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 03:28 AM

Thanks, I've figured it's cold. Good to hear that the roads should be visible/passable.

I know an Orthodox priest, but am visiting the folks at the other end of the State. Am planning on paying the priest a visit next Sunday, though.

At the moment, I'm trying to fax them at the Pilgrims office. Figure that's easiest for all involved. +3031861811 is the number I'm trying. Got no answer, I suppose they could not have it taking faxes 24-7. Will call tomorrow, if I can't get through, and pray I can communicate my request.

#6 B. Douglass

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:12 AM

Oh, also another thing.

How realistic is it to get from Athos to Athens in one day? I'm trying to cram one more day out of my break from work at Athos. Given the fact that it's Greece, I'm kind of doubting it's possible in winter short of Taxis.

#7 Anthony

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

Thanks, I've figured it's cold. Good to hear that the roads should be visible/passable.


I would tend to emphasize the other side of Paul's post - that many of the tracks won't be; and a number of them, including the coastal ones, can be dangerous. Also, if you have a tight schedule for your break, you should bear in mind that there may be times when the boats can't sail.

I don't recall a lot of English being available, though that is probably changing.

In Ouranoupoli I would strongly recommend the Hotel Xenios Zeus - I think they have the number on the Friends of Mt Athos page, not that they are likely to be overbooked in winter.


At the moment, I'm trying to fax them at the Pilgrims office. Figure that's easiest for all involved. +3031861811 is the number I'm trying. Got no answer, I suppose they could not have it taking faxes 24-7. Will call tomorrow, if I can't get through, and pray I can communicate my request.


You will probably need a good fund of patience by phone as well.

I am sorry if this comes over as negative; it is not meant that way. I wish you all the best for your journey, and please feel free to PM me if I can be of any help.

#8 B. Douglass

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:20 PM

Thanks. I should have thought about the boats, but hadn't yet.

#9 B. Douglass

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:57 PM

It was actually quite hard to believe, but this morning, I got my confirmation from the Pilgrims Office, so now it's official! It's really amazing. Now, it's just going to be hard to wait!

#10 Alice

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 01:46 AM

It was actually quite hard to believe, but this morning, I got my confirmation from the Pilgrims Office, so now it's official! It's really amazing. Now, it's just going to be hard to wait!


My husband just got back a few days ago from his first trip to Mt. Athos. He spent a week. He said it was a wonderful experience...

#11 Paul Cowan

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:54 AM

My husband just got back a few days ago from his first trip to Mt. Athos. He spent a week. He said it was a wonderful experience...


Dear Alice,

Make him write it down day by day and everything he experienced. He and you will not regret it. If he is willing, please have him share some of his time with us.

Paul

#12 Ryan

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 01:39 PM

Mr. Douglass- have a safe journey and a blessed time on the Holy Mountain. I envy you!

Good luck, so much for male only members of the Orthodox Church. Athos, to me, isn't what it used to be, and has become the complete opposite of what it was, caught up in nationalism, politics and greed. Of course such statements cannot and do not apply to the monks there.


J.K.- Could you perhaps elaborate on what you mean by this? How do you know so much? The Holy Mountain is the complete opposite of what it was, and yet this has nothing to do with the monks?

#13 Davor

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 05:18 PM

I didn't want to start a new thread as it is on the same subject. I'm thinking about going to Athos sometime between March and April. That is the only time that I have this year, however that means that my trip would take place during Lent. Is it advisable or even allowed to go to Athos during Lent, as it is a time of strict fast and prayer? I wouldn't want to go there and feel like I'm in the way of everyone!

#14 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 05:42 PM

I didn't want to start a new thread as it is on the same subject. I'm thinking about going to Athos sometime between March and April. That is the only time that I have this year, however that means that my trip would take place during Lent. Is it advisable or even allowed to go to Athos during Lent, as it is a time of strict fast and prayer? I wouldn't want to go there and feel like I'm in the way of everyone!


I don't know that it is a problem, just don't expect lavish repasts being presented. Expect to stay hungry!

#15 Jake A.

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:41 PM

J.K.- Could you perhaps elaborate on what you mean by this? How do you know so much? The Holy Mountain is the complete opposite of what it was, and yet this has nothing to do with the monks?


"a true monk fears neither the imperial purple, nor the mitre of a patriarch, and is prepared to endure anything joyfully and happily for the love of the Orthodox faith, which is his greatest treasure . ... Monastic hood does not bow before any masters who disdain the Divine Law and the Sacred Tradition, and who subject the Faith to sinful people desirous of worldly things, to people obedient to Satan."
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During the Turkish occupation Mt. Athos was practically autonomous, and only in 1917 did it fall under the control of Greece. Since that time the Greek government, exercising its power over this new territory, began to pursue a chauvinist policy, trying to make the Holy Mount exclusively Greek, i.e. to get rid of the monastics of other nationalities

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, to which jurisdiction Mt. Athos belongs, and which at the present time is traditionally comprised, as we have seen, of modernists-masons, has been staunchly supporting civil powers, helping them to undermine Athonite traditions and principles. This apostatic "symphony", which has nothing in common with the Justinian symphony of the Emperor and the clergy, judging by the present situation, directs its efforts to a gradual destruction of the Holy Mt. Athos. This assertion is proved in particular by the sharp decrease in the number of Athonite inhabitants. Thus, the celebration of the millennium of Mt. Athos in 1963 was marred by the announcement of the fact that during about half a century the number of monks was reduced from 7500 in 1903 to 1560 in 1963.

From 1970's Mt. Athos has been gradually populated by ambitious young men agreeable to the government authorities, the so called "New Athonites". Many of them are university graduates, who, contrary to the age-old hagiorite decrees and under the pressure of civil powers, have been appointed abbots of monasteries. They are precisely the ones who help to implement the policy agreeable to both the civil authorities and the Phanar, by destroying monasticism and being accessories to persecution against those who remain faithful to Orthodoxy.

The election of Patriarch Athenagoras, a high-ranking member of an American masonic lodge, and an adherent of the "branch theory", has made the difficult situation even worse. It should be noted that Athenagoras' election was dictated by the USA which wanted to ensure the improvement of relationships between Greece and Turkey (the latter is a country to which USA is especially attentive, because of its strategic position). Athenagoras' predecessor, Patriarch Maximos V, who proved to be a much stronger traditionalist than Athenagoras, was deposed without any reason and confined as a mentally ill person in Switzerland, where he was deprived of the right to officiate in divine services or to act in a capacity of a hierarch. Several people, who managed to visit him at the end of the 1950-ies, have testified that he was neither mentally ill, nor of unsound mind.

But during the years 1970-80, in the reign of Patriarch Demetrios, who continued and even expanded the apostatic practice of his predecessor, all monasteries, except the monks-zealots and the monastery of Esphigmenou, re-established their communion with the Patriarch. This happened due to the intrigues of the patriarchal exarchate who managed "to seduce... even the elect" (Mark 13,22). The periodically occurring mysterious "suicides", or disappearances of monks, threats, pressure and simply persecution to which the monks who were disobedient to the heretical Constantinople were subjected, have also had their effect.

(Esphigmenou Monastery is still being persecuted by the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, a Freemason. (please see video: , )

From time to time, it is true, the Athonite monasteries censured the Patriarch of Constantinople in the appeals which they have sent him. Thus, after the regrettably notorious concelebration of Patriarch Demetrios with Pope John-Paul II, which was an unprecedented act of rapprochement of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the Papists, the Sacred Council of Mt. Athos sent a letter to Demetrios. "We have no other form of action left to us -- they wrote -- we place this into the hands of God. We now embrace silence, leaving all to Christ our God, and await the solution of this problem from Him. The Sacred Council can no longer tell hagiorites and other faithful about the strictness of Your confession and the steadfastness of Your faith, because You personally are openly professing the opposite. The Holy Mount, inasmuch as it firmly adheres to the precepts of faith and piety, cannot express its respect and devotion to the Ecumenical See".

Nevertheless, the silence embraced by those commemorating the Patriarch-heretic, "not being the silence of hesychasts", has since yielded to enthusiastic welcome with which the Sacred Council of Mt. Athos honored both the late Demetrios and his successor Patriarch Bartholomeos. Since then Phanar has undertaken even more insolent steps and developed unprecedented ecumenical activity when in June of 1993 it concluded the Balamand Agreement with the Vatican, and in November of the same year -- the Chambesy Agreement with the Monophysites.

Why is it, then, that despite everything those that "commemorate" the Patriarch continue to communicate with the heretic? How can one explain that today the majority of them is silent about one of the most scandalous events in the history of Mt. Athos, reminiscent of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages -- i.e. the expulsion of Russian monks from their Skete of St. Elias on May 20 of 1992, just because they refused to commemorate the Phanar apostate?

On May 7/20 of 1992, on the feast-day of Mid-Pentecost, Abbot Seraphim and seven other inhabitants of the Skete were forcibly evicted from Mt. Athos without trial and investigation. This criminal and shameful act was committed by the Commission of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by the patriarchal Exarch, Metropolitan Athanasios of Heliopolis. The eviction was carried out with the help of the representatives of the civil authorities of Mt. Athos and numerous armed police.

The request of the fathers of St. Elias Skete to be granted at least two or three days for preparations, was rejected. "Because they were under escort and strict police supervision, the monks were unable to collect not only the most necessary personal belongings, but documents as well". These Russian zealots were forcibly ushered into military vehicles and brought to Daphne via Karyes (capital of Mt. Athos). From Daphne a motor-boat delivered them to Uranopolis (outside Mt. Athos) where they were heartlessly abandoned on the pier without money or documents.

But persecution of these Russian monks on the part of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities did not end with this improbable, unchristian treatment: their request to have their passports returned to them was rejected (Archimandrite Seraphim and his fellow monks are American citizens). Moreover they were not even presented with a copy of the decision of either the Sacred Council, or of the civil authorities testifying to their eviction. All this was fabricated later. Immediately following the eviction of the Russian monks this rich Skete was plundered and occupied by the "monks" acceptable to Phanar and to the government.

The adherents of the Patriarch of Constantinople cannot but be aware that for many years, especially since 1970, "a silent and secret religious persecution has been taking place on the Holy Mount against the monks who remain faithful to Orthodox traditions." Apart from the forcible measures already mentioned, they are not allowed to either tonsure Athonite zealots, or have novices in obedience (this is not permitted even to the eldest zealot monks). They are not allowed to buy cells for themselves and they cannot acquire the most necessary items for their existence.

It often happened that many monks-ascetics who had vowed never to leave the Holy Mount until they died were evicted from Athos. This was the fate, for example, of ascetic-hesychast Fr. Theodorite, the author of numerous books on theology and piety, and of monk-zealot Fr. Damian. In other words, the plan of finally eliminating Athonite zealots is being actually carried out, and in such a manner as to make the believers think that no one on Mt. Athos opposes the betrayal of Orthodoxy which is being committed there.

Will the Holy Mount Athos, "the garden of the Mother of God," become what the subjects of the prince of this world want it to be -- a tourist spot with hotels, beaches, entertainment centers and... a Museum of Eastern Monasticism?!

...The sacred Esphigmenou monastery has in all respects become a zealot religious community. Along with the other monks-zealots, the monks of Esphigmenou steadfastly refuse to have any communion with the apostate Patriarch. For more than 20 years the tower of Esphigmenou monastery has displayed the flag with the words: "Orthodoxy or Death". This God-loving monastic community, which is often cut off from the rest of the world and which has been more than once in danger of being seized by force or with the aid of perfidy. However, with the help of God and the protection of the Mother of God, the monastery keeps resisting those who exert every possible pressure upon it. "Its steadfastness bore fruit: police themselves were ashamed of the anti-Christian task which they were forced to perform."

The Esphigmenou community has not only given hope to all the Orthodox world, and become a symbol of resistance to the anti-Christian evil, but has also become an example to be emulated.

The fact that the Esphigmenou monastery is a model of fidelity to Christ the Savior has a profound meaning for Russia, because the father of Russian monasticism, St. Anthony of the Kiev-Caves Lavra (+1073, commemorated July 10) was tonsured and practiced asceticism in that monastery, and brought from there "the rule of faith" and the image of true piety to the Russian land.

Following the example of the Esphigmenou community, all Orthodox Christians and their monasteries should inscribe on the tablets of their hearts the words of love and faithfulness to Christ: "Orthodoxy or Death".
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Full Article: http://ecumenizm.tri...ENIZM/id33.html

Edited by J. K. Amra, 22 December 2009 - 11:05 PM.


#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:51 PM

There was no con-celebration. It did not happen. This was a slanderous lie spread by certain parties hoping to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (also known as FUD) to gain support for certain schismatic groups. Lies, fear, deceit are not fruits of the Spirit, but weapons of that other guy.

#17 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 11:08 AM

Dear Mr Amra and others,

Discussion of legitimate questions about the revival of monastic life on the Holy Mountain, together with all its 'ups and downs', is an entirely fair and appropriate topic of conversation in a forum dedicated to the patristic and monastic heritage of Orthodoxy. Simply trouping-out polemical rhetoric, however, is not. Whether or not one agrees with the basic position it takes, the text you've quoted above (post #15, above) is so riddled with inaccuracies and nonsense as to be absolutely incredible to any careful reader -- ultimately serving to undermine any criticisms it may wish to make. But beyond this, its highly polemical tone is simply unproductive to genuine discussion and conversation.

Please let us follow our community guidelines and refrain from this sort of thing. If one wishes to address constructively and in discussion various aspects of Athonite history, ancient or modern, this can be done in far more fruitful manners.

INXC, Dcn Matthew




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