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The monk's Republic of Athos is an autonomous (self), but not sovereign (independent) state. Protective power of the theocratic Republic of Athos is since 1923 the state of Greece. The state of Greece accepts both border and police functions for the Holy Mountain and also secures, in any one of the Athos monasteries, for entrant monks from abroad, the Greek citizenship.
However, this is not an option but more or less a forced move to the alienation of the Republic to protect the monks. It is directly said that at Athos not only the monks live. At least temporarily live, many other Greeks in the Republic. For example, the tavern hosts from Dafni and caries, doctors, pharmacists, construction and forestry workers.
The Greek post office, the telephone company OTE and the electricity suppliers have employees stationed at the Mount Athos. And of course Police. The Holy Mount Athos has its own police, but is supported by the state police and the customs.
The entry requirements for the monk Republic are very strict. Exclusively men receive access. The access is denied to women. The only females on the Holy Mountain are chickens, because some monks need fresh egg yolk for the icon painting.
From this point of view, Mount Athos is a region, in which, for more than 1,000 years, people live and die, but not born. For heresies (like Benedictines or Franciscans of the Catholic Church), there is not space in the Orthodox Church. Nearly all the monasteries have basic rules of the early Christian church father Basilios of Caesarea, but also have their own traditions.
Τhe monk's Republic shall be governed by the principle kinovitis. This includes a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. All meals are taken together to the convent and adhered strictly to the rules. Until 1990, there were also on the Mount Athos monasteries, according to the Idiorrhythmie.
With this principle, the monks keep their private property, but must also take care for themselves.
So, poor monks live as it were from hand to mouth, while rich friars can even afford a servant. But as you know, there are on the Athos only convents. Currently about 2,000 monks on the Holy Mountain live in accordance with the Julian calendar, the Gregorian our 13 days "lagging behind", in addition to the Byzantine period.
At sunrise the day starts from 0 o’clock to 12 o’clock, at sunset the night starts also at 0 o’clock to 12 o’clock. Since the set-up and sinking of the sun the time is changing every 4 days. For 8 hours they work, mainly for supplying the monastic communities themselves and serve the pilgrims. These include agriculture, fishing, kitchen, garden and cleaning work. Further, work is mainly icon painting, wood carving, book restoration and, of course, calligraphy. They also produce candles and drawn materials for liturgical use.
There are hermits and ascetics living alone in hermitages, small huts or caves, which are somewhere in the mountains of Athos and are hidden.
There, they try, in the strictest monastic asceticism rules to live.
The distribution of roles in the monasteries is hierarchically graded. At the top is the head monastery, the abbot, who is supported by an Elder. Each monastery sent someone to elect for one year as an Antiprosopos (an agent) to manage the capital of Athos.
Iera Kinotis, the Holy Community, which is the supreme body of the friar Republic meets three times a week. The Iera Kinotis regulates not only the coexistence of the monasteries themselves, but also for relations with the Greek government and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.
When monks die, they get buried without a coffin - but only with their gown. The graves marked with simple wooden crosses. After three years, the mortal remains exhumed and the skull washed with wine.
Over its entire history Agion Oros, sometimes was in less independent status. In any case, is understood that the Holy Mountain is the center of Orthodox faith. The monasteries complain for years for not having young monks, although the number of religious brothers is currently increasing again. So there are many complexes of monasteries deserted and dilapidated thereby. If only once the number of monks at a monastery reduce less than 6, the state has the right to Greece, to take over.
This will be a first step towards Athos-tourism, a possible idea.
The word Orthodox means "the correct religion" and refers to the contrast of East-Orthodox and Roman Catholics. The Church in the West became increasingly political clout after the western Roman Empire had disintegrated. And the Bishop of Rome finally declared himself as the sole representative of God on earth. Especially in the areas of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, this interpretation found no response. The missions to the Slavs, not least through the introduction of the Cyrillic writing, made Constantinople the center of the Eastern Christianity.
The Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople (formerly Byzantium, now Istanbul) excommunicated eachother at 1054. This was withdrawn only at the second Vatican Council at 1965th.