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Women on Mount Athos


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#1 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 02:57 AM

MEPs Approve Resolution Seeking to Allow Women on Mount Athos

January 16, 2003 (Kathimerini) -- The European Parliament yesterday approved
by a marginal majority a 135-article resolution, submitted by Dutch MEP Joke
Swiebel, which, among other matters, seeks to lift a millennium-old ban on
women entering the all-male monastic community on Mount Athos as part of a
broader reinforcement of the fundamental rights of EU citizens. The ban on
women entering Mount Athos is a violation of sexual equality and EU
legislation governing discrimination, equality and citizens' freedom of
movement, according to the resolution, which was approved by 277 votes to
255.

This is terrible news, and it shows that the EU does not care about upholding Christian tradition.

#2 Guest_demetrios karaolanis

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 03:05 PM

This is a tradition that has been upheld since the Theotokos first walked on the soil of athos. it is a tradition as old as the monasteries, it cannot be changed now! It would be good for the world to stay out of the affairs of the holy mountian. do you have any links on this subject?


#3 Guest_OrthodoxLife

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 09:37 PM

I was frightened when I read of this last month. This would be "worldly" interference of the most ignorant and vicious sort.

Satan has attacked the Holy Mountain already, through the intended eviction of the monks of the Esphigmenou Monastery. Yes, I am in a "new calendar" jurisdiction. No, I do not believe these monks should be tormented over a belief that they hold so sincerely (and with concrete basis for holding it). (They do not seem to have been harassing their monastic neighbors about the issue, if I understand correctly.)

Through the prayers of the Theotokos, and her intercessions for her beloved Mt. Athos, may peace and privacy be restored!


#4 Guest_Radu Tarcau

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 03:27 AM

It seems the Greek Parliament rejected the request. (for now) read here




#5 Guest_demetrios karaolanis

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 06:32 PM

that seems to be a relief for now at least. I hope that this is the way out of the problem


#6 Guest_Marina Robb

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 07:58 AM

Simple .. propose that all Monasteries in Europe .. . including the hundreds of enclosed women's orders in Catholic monasteries are opened up to the public ... men and women alike. Propose that male tourists should freely walk through the kitchens of cloistered nuns in France, Germany and Italy ... there will be uproar and outcry and then we could quite simply point out "well, that is what you are demanding from Mount Athos"


#7 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 04:10 AM

Hi Marina.

I’ve always wanted to go to Mt. Athos (Agion Oros = Holy Mountain). I feel really envious when friends go there each year. After a stay of a week or so they come back both physically and spiritually refreshed. I have a cousin who is a monk at the Holy Monastery of Iveron and he has sent me a copy of the Holy Wonder-Working Icon of “Portaitissa”. I’d really like to see the original though.

As much as I’d like to visit Mt. Athos I know that it would be wrong. The monks in the monasteries there have been living in isolation from women for approx. the last 1000 years or so (this date might not be accurate because I can only vaguely remember reading about the length of time monasteries have been on Mt. Athos). I agree with your comment about Catholic monasteries – some orders of Catholic nuns also live in isolation with only one or two postern nuns ever leaving the monastery. There was a big discussion about this on Greek TV a while back and a woman who is a member of the Socialist Government here and a EU parliament member was totally in favour of it. She seemed to have no religious feeling about Mt. Athos at all. All she seemed interested in was the fact that women were not permitted to go there. It seems disrespectful somehow to arbitrarily make a decision about such an important issue, one moreover that doesn’t really concern the people making the decision. There are so many important issues in the EU that need solving that the question of whether women are allowed on Mt. Athos or not is hardly of supreme importance.

I think most of the monasteries on Mt. Athos allow their icons and other religious artefacts to be displayed from time to time in either Athens or Thessaloniki. I know that the Holy Monastery of Iveron has had an exhibition of its treasures in the US - New York if I’m not mistaken.

A much more important problem for women, I would think, is the fact that they are still paid less than men for doing the same job! And how about the lack of free day-care centres for working mothers?

Effie



#8 Fr Averky

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 05:29 AM

Marian.

Bravo! Too bad your proposal could not be made at the EU. In Northern California there is an all women's college to which men had applied, now over ten years ago, and at that time, the national news showed hundred of jubilant women hugging and jumping up and down as the proposal was tossed out. Yet we see that a men- only golfing club in Georgia is being visciously attacked by women's groups for not admitting women. In my youth, I inherited a membershio to a private men's club in San Franciso which was a bastion for some of the Bay areas' oldest families. When a woman lawyer fought for and won admission to the club, its members reacted by closing it down rather than breaking its tradition, a terrible loss, for the ideas which brought about many of the city's cultural, charitable, and social advatages were given birth there.

Some things should just be left as they are. Mt. Athos belongs to the Mother of God, and if she ever abandons it, we all shouild be afraid. I remember of how many of my non-Orthodox friends were horrified when years ago the actress/politician Melina Mecouri as Minister of Culture of the first socialist government proposed that the monks of Mt. Athos be relocated to Meteora and other places and that the monasteries turned into hotels, for, she said that the refectories would be perfect of gambling, and that the monk's cells had such glorious views of the water! Thank God, this never came to pass.

Father Averky


#9 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 16 April 2003 - 08:45 AM

Following the subject of this thread, some might be interested to read an article posted on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate:


"STATUS OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS AND ITS WAY OF LIFE WILL STAY UNCHANGED

"Speaking at a Europarliament session, the Greek Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos made a special statement on the future of monasteries on Mount Athos.

"He commented on a recent Europarliament resolution lifting the traditional ban for women to visit Mount Athos. He stressed that the Statute of the old monastic republic was not to be changed, because it had been legally fixed in the acts of the European Union and the Constitution of the Republic of Greece. [...]"

[Full text in English...] [Full text in Russian...]


#10 Ksenia

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:35 PM

It seems the Greek Parliament rejected the request. (for now) read here

can you post a link again? i tried it and it doesn't work.

#11 Ksenia

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:40 PM

Following the subject of this thread, some might be interested to read an article posted on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate:


"STATUS OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS AND ITS WAY OF LIFE WILL STAY UNCHANGED

"Speaking at a Europarliament session, the Greek Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos made a special statement on the future of monasteries on Mount Athos.

"He commented on a recent Europarliament resolution lifting the traditional ban for women to visit Mount Athos. He stressed that the Statute of the old monastic republic was not to be changed, because it had been legally fixed in the acts of the European Union and the Constitution of the Republic of Greece. [...]"

[Full text in English...] [Full text in Russian...]

i tried it and for some reason the message says that link is non-existent. can you post it again?

#12 Irene

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:00 AM

Dear Ksenia, That's the unfortunate thing about such old posts, the articles referred in the posts can be so often deleted, so the links lead nowhere.

There is another thread here about Women and Mt Athos.

I found an article from Reuters dated that says the ban is still in place. But I have found nothing else at this time. "Women break all-male Mount Athos ban" Tue May 27, 2008 11:11am

#13 Alice

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 09:19 AM

As far as I know, the ban is still in place and will remain so under a special designation for the Holy Mountain...however, I am quite upset about another presence, one which can have an even far greater potential for the temptation to sin, which has recently come to the Holy Mountain: wireless internet service on Mt. Athos and in six monasteries as of date.

Although I am sure that the use of the computer will have strict limitations as it does in the monasteries of Father Ephraim in the U.S., it is never the less, a sad day to know that a place which is so historic and old, and which one could 'step back in time' is now caught up to this degree...for both the monk and visitors.

ATHENS, Aug 20 (Reuters Life!) - Monks at six medieval monasteries have joined the 21st century with the installation of broadband Internet access on the remote Mount Athos peninsula.
The all-male Greek Orthodox monasteries were hooked up to a pilot wireless data transmission network, Greece's main telephone company telecommunications firm OTE said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Through the use of innovative technology, we can provide modern internet services for this special religious and cultural centre," OTE said. "The network provides for both broadband and IP telephone services."


I remember how nice it was when my husband and I used to visit St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY because until very recently, there was no mobile phone service in the mountain area for miles.It truly made one feel as if one was leaving the modern world of stresses and worldly concerns behind, and by not having this option of communication with the outside world in one's consciousness, it became even more of a spiritual retreat which was therapeutic for the soul, mind and body.

Alice

#14 Deacon Jonathan

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 11:49 AM

I understand the reservations about introducing wireless to Mt. Athos because as an internet user myself I know the spiritual dangers that lurk out there. However, as long as there are controls as Alice said,it should be fine.

It does help to show that the traditions of Mt Athos are not related to "preserving" the past, though. There are good, spiritual, reasons why women cannot visit Mt. Athos that are not related to keeping things "how they've always been". Introducing wireless to the Holy Mountain helps show this, I think, and that the monks there are not people who eschew technology, merely that they eschew "the world". I haven't visited Mt. Athos, but I've seen the pictures and the way the monasteries cling to the mountain edges must be down in part to technology (in synergy with God of course).

---

ps: I'm in a coffee shop now using wireless to post this :-D

#15 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 09:33 PM

Athonite monks were pioneers of photography in the nineteenth century. They are not 'technophobes'. Any medium can be used for good or evil.

#16 Carlos Antonio Palad

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 02:43 AM

Athonite monks were pioneers of photography in the nineteenth century. They are not 'technophobes'. Any medium can be used for good or evil.


As I've stated in another forum, I hope that Athos could eventually broadcast some of their major liturgies via internet radio. That would be such an immense blessing.

Also, if this means that Athonite monks can now weigh in on very important matters (theological, liturgical, etc.), then, as we Filipinos say, "more power to them!"

The monks of Athos are severely anti-Catholic and sometimes the things they say about us make me cringe. Nevertheless, these men are truly holy, and the world can only become better if it hears their voice.

#17 Mary

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 05:53 AM


I remember how nice it was when my husband and I used to visit St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY because until very recently, there was no mobile phone service in the mountain area for miles.It truly made one feel as if one was leaving the modern world of stresses and worldly concerns behind, and by not having this option of communication with the outside world in one's consciousness, it became even more of a spiritual retreat which was therapeutic for the soul, mind and body.

Alice


Dear Alice,

Interesting thought. I got home from 3 weeks at a monastery, with my family. They do have phones and internet. But not for a moment did I feel connected to the modern world. I didn't want to remember anything at home, so I could pay attention and absorb everything at the monastery. So, when I locked the front door and turned my back to the house, it was out of my mind. Perhaps I have amnesia or alzheimer's which is why I can forget my stresses and concerns with such great ease. =) There's got to be some good purpose for forgetfulness!

At the monastery, I had no calendar, I never knew what day of the week it was. When folks asked me when school was starting for the kids, I didn't know. All of my days sort of ran into each other and things just happened one by one, and I never knew what was going to happen next, and everything was beautiful. I did get on the computer two times, but it never really disturbed the peace that I was experiencing. i also felt very disconnected, even from my sister, who had sent an important e-mail.

I've been back for two days now, and I'm having trouble connecting to my house and my concerns and worries.

I do hope you keep visiting monasteries. I've been to St Nectarios. I totally loved it. I don't have a cell phone, so I don't know if there was any cell phone service when I visited.

In Christ,
Mary

#18 Antonios

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 06:01 AM

Dear friends,

I also confess that when I first read about the internet being introduced on Mount Athos, I cringed. I reckon I cringed because in my heart it was my very own multitude of sins which caused me such disgust.

I don't worry all too much about Our Lady's Holy Garden, because the saints who reside there will pray for the world until the coming of the Lord. In that day, there will be no dangerous cliffs or treacherous storms, and likewise, there will be no need for an 'internet'. In that day the children of God will all together glorify the Majesty of our Almighty Father and God. Amen.

#19 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 06:02 AM


Although I am sure that the use of the computer will have strict limitations as it does in the monasteries of Father Ephraim in the U.S., it is never the less, a sad day to know that a place which is so historic and old, and which one could 'step back in time' is now caught up to this degree...for both the monk and visitors.



I remember how nice it was when my husband and I used to visit St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY because until very recently, there was no mobile phone service in the mountain area for miles.It truly made one feel as if one was leaving the modern world of stresses and worldly concerns behind, and by not having this option of communication with the outside world in one's consciousness, it became even more of a spiritual retreat which was therapeutic for the soul, mind and body.

Alice


Alice, study the wording of the Reuters news report.

six medieval monsteries
will join the 20th century

I really don't know what reaction I have when I read some of the things these presumably educated reporters write these days.

Once upon a time, reporters were supposed to be well informed so that they, in their turn, could spread their knowledge. Most of today's reporters are sadly lacking in knowledge and just copy and spread misinformation, believing it to be true because they apparently read it somewhere and are really too lazy to read up on the subjects they report on.

Another sign of the ridiculous times we live in.

Effie

Quite a few of the monasteries on the Holy Mountain have had access to the Internet for some years now.

And what does "joining the 20th century" mean really? That all the good things of the past are worthless and that technology is the most important thing in our lives today proving that we are an advanced species................

There is only one thing that matters in this life, one thing that will never change no matter what century we are living in. That is the quest for enosis with God. Technology if used right, will make our lives better, but it is not the the highest inspiration in our lives.

The monks of the Holy Mountain provide something that no new technology can give us. They are a "powerhouse" of prayer, as are all contemplative monasteries in the world, no matter what religion they are.

#20 Alice

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:35 AM

The monks of the Holy Mountain provide something that no new technology can give us. They are a "powerhouse" of prayer, as are all contemplative monasteries in the world, no matter what religion they are.


Dear Effie,

That is so beautifully written! Indeed, I agree...God only knows how much their prayers are saving our world in all its sin...

Dear Mary,

There is mobile phone service in the Roscoe, NY area now. I am now in Greece, and apparently, only the Americans use 'cell' phone in English, so I am training myself to say 'mobile' phone now. LOL...*wink*

I do visit monasteries in Greece, and have already been to St. Nektarios' monastery in Aegina, which I have been visiting for the twenty-five years, but so much has changed there over the years that, sadly, it no longer feels quite the same way when we visit... (the new large church and monastic buildings in all their splendor dwarfing the original humble monastery, nuns not around to talk to visitors anymore, the stressed out and unfriendly attitude of the women volunteering in the bookstore, and in the church and chapels, etc.)..and though I am always moved by tears to be so close to the saint's relics and monastery which he built with his own hands, I sorely miss the retreat experience and feeling of Roscoe. It is the closest we will ever feel to the Athonite rule and holiness, and it is quite special.

One monastery which is most hospitable here is the monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Thebes. I have been extremely blessed to have met a couple of the sisters and their Elder in the U.S., and enjoyed visiting the monastery for the first time last year. The sisters have been seperated now into a few monasteries by the Bishop, so I didn't see my dear sister friend, but spoke to her on the Gerontissa's mobile phone, with her blessing, ofcourse. The sisters are young, educated, and come from many different backgrounds and countries. Some are converts to Orthodoxy. Since a few of them are American, they are most friendly in the open manner which we Americans are. This comes as a bit of a pleasant shock when you have spent some time in Athens, where people have become increasingly reserved and very unfriendly towards strangers. The nuns are hospitable too, and invited us to eat with them.
The location is most relaxing...up on a mountain--with fresh, light and cool mountain breezes and shady trees...something which is a most pleasant respite from the heat of southern Greece in the summer and early Autumn months.
I have visited many other monasteries in various parts of Greece including Chios, which is practically a second home to us, because it is where my husband's family was from, but, sadly, so many have only a few older monks and/or nuns around anymore, though they are worth the visit since the locations are always breathtaking, and a few of them are a thousand years old and quite historic, such as 'Nea Moni' (new monastery, built in the mid eleventh century by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos and his wife.)

Alice




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