Photographs from Mount Athos
Posted 15 July 2005 - 01:49 PM
This galeries are from Peter Serko's Pilgrimage To Mt Athos.
Peter Serko has published in his web site some photographs from his trip to Mount Athos.
These photographs are of very good quality and they cover some of Mount Athos Monasteries.
Posted 16 July 2005 - 09:29 AM
But it is not a forbidden place.
It is the respect to Virgin's authority over the place that permits monks to be her guests in her "garden" and it is the same respect that inspires women not to step over her footsteps.
It must be understood that the impassableness of the place is also valid for men, as well as women for the same attribution of reverence towards Virgin's privilege to be the possessor of the Holy Mount.
There is though a peculiar permission for "some" men to live in this place as her guests for the sole purpose of doxology/glorification of God, all day and all night long. These are the monks, who have no more rights on the Holy Mountain than everybody else does.
So, the monk society that is guest in Virgin's Garden is kind of “visible” presence of her forethought over human kind.
Women can visit the Athos peninsula on vessels that approximates to the shore line, where priests and monks await them (after a proper advanced notice) to present to them the holy treasures of monasteries such as holy relics, holy cross and to officiate a short service.
The Garden of the Most Holy Virgin is part of the Holy Church and as women and men are not allowed to enter into the Holy Altar of a Church, but they communicate with the Life of the Altar through the ministry of God’s servants (bishops and priests and deacons), likewise Mount Athos is an Altar having the natural proportion of a mountain, where the monks are constantly provide the logical worship to God, by the intermediation of the Holy Virgin.
The so called “visitors” of Mount Athos are not actually visitors in the sense of being “tourists in a foreign land”. They are like the laymen who enter into the Altar of the Church to provide help and to participate as servants to the priest.
Actually this is the case for all “visitors” of monasteries.
In this context, the life of Mount Athos, the environment and the life in the Monasteries are not “secrets” predestined to be known only to “insiders”. The life of Mount Athos is the most public life of the Church; it is the life of constant glorification of God. There is nothing secret or apocryphal in the way that this life is performed.
So, the photos, and the books that present the life of monastic society of Mount Athos are not violating the impassability of the place. It is like being in a church, where we are not allowed to enter into the Altar, but we can always see and communicate with the ministration that the priest is performing in It.
We must realize that there is nothing "unusual" going on at Mount Athos. Everything is according to the customs and canons and tradition of the Church. The impassability of Mount Athos is valid both for men and for women, like the impassability of Holy Altar is valid for both men and for women. As the entrance to the Holy Altar is allowed only to clergyman and to appropriate laymen,likewise the entrance to the Holy Mountain is allowed only to the monks, who are the ministers and the flowers of the Garden of the Most Holy Virgin and to appropriate laymen that approach them to help them and participate in their service. The laity is participating from standing "outside", but in real and ontological communion with the "insider's" way of life . The "outsiders" are not only the women, but also the men.
Unfortunately, the secularization of the Church is gradually destroying the experience of seeing the Glory of God, without actually being "in the place" where God’s Glory rests.
May God bless us, all.
(Message edited by lpap on 16 July, 2005)
Posted 18 July 2005 - 05:48 PM
Thanx for the photos Leandros
Ever since starting my Theological studies I always wanted to visit Mount Athos. So I waited until I had finished studying. Then I told my parents. Dad however was reluctant to let me go, so he compromised and came with me.
On the boat there someone told us he was going to Stavronikita where a large fragment of the Cross was. He also mentioned it was the Veneration of the Holy Cross the nect day. Although I knew they followd the 'old calendar' I didn't even think that it would have been my dad's name day. We decided to go to Iviron and there we saw FR Vasileios and a couple of monks from Australia.
When we got there dad was a bit stressed and very tired wich struck me as unusual since he was quite athletic person. I thought it was a bit of an act since he did not like monasteries, purly because he thought i would become a monk.
Anyway, we stayed a day and attended the all night vigil for the Veneration of the Cross, but we had to leave the following day. Dad was not well.
After returning home to Australia I felt good that I had the chance to at lease be there, but felt resentful and bad that I had "missed out" on the rest of the Holy Mountain. This was my superficial mind thinking that more is better.
But much later I realised that because I did not get the chance to see the whole of the Holy Mountain, I cherished the little that I had seen, even more.
Dad had changed his whole outlook on monasticism and it seemed that he accepted it more. He went to Church more often, he became more generous and peaceful. Suddenly without warning and within a month or so of having returned to Australia, he had a massive heart attack and died at the age of 59.
I suppose this is a lesson for all of us. Some people live a long life living in a worldly fashiom but not even knowing God, others live a short life and have God with them all the time and feel their lives are fulfilled. Others however may suddenly 'find themselves' and thereby find their faith in God towards the end of their life and thir lives are fulfilled and saved.
I just wanted to share this story with you. Oh and I forgot, dad died on my birthday, the feast day of St John Chrysostom.
Posted 18 July 2005 - 07:46 PM
That is a very touching story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm happy to hear that your father did not lack oil in his lamp when his time came to greet the Lord. It is stories like these that give so much hope to the rest of us sinners. May God bless his soul and give him eternal rest.
And thank you Leandros for the excellent site. I have never been to the Holy Mountain and these pictures are a gold mine!
Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:55 PM
I thank every one who participates in this forum we all learn from it, = the nice thing about this forum is the multi-culture blend of the = participants from all over the world, from nurse-aid to theopesta dem = from abdulha to antonios from leandros to kosmas and fr Raphael and the = rest of you of which I can not mention all, you are all the world at its = best. This is exactly what Jesus Christ said to His disciples "go and = tell the nations about the good news", the other day I saw on the news = that in Korea they consecrated the 7th Greek orthodox church, and all = over the world new Christian orthodox churches are mushrooming.
During my visit to Mount Athos a few years a go I noticed a sign = pasted on the wall at the monastery of Koutouloumoussiou near Karyes, = the sign said "you must die so you don't die when you die" this took me = about ten years to understand and another ten years to think about = putting it in to practice. I believe that it's all very well to believe = and all that but if you don't live what you believe what's the good of = it. So this is my struggle and I think every ones struggle is the same = to be able to live our lives according to our Lord Jesus Christ's = teachings, its a difficult one but we keep on trying with God's help.
Posted 19 July 2005 - 02:55 PM
CHRIST IS RISEN! XPICTOC BOCKPECE! XPICTOC ANECTH!
"When the devil tries to irritate you over trifles, or stir you to anger, to destroy your peace of soul, just say, 'Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen!' He fears these words above all. They scorch him like fire and he will flee from you."
Schema-Elder Michael of Varlaam
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