or as the Greeks say: Agion Oros, which means sacred mountain. Insiders also say Oros Agion, which means mountain of the saints.
However, the Athos monastic republic keeps alive the Orthodox Christianity for over 1000 years with it's ancient traditions and it's seclusion. It is the heart of the Orthodoxy, has survived many centuries and defied all influences from outside. A deep mystery is the life of the monks behind the monastery walls, of which pilgrims only have the grace to take a short look and feel the presence of God. To outsiders, it is difficult to understand how the Holy Mountain Athos on that peninsula could defy for over 1000 years all the influences of the past times and preserve life until now almost as in the beginning.
We will never be able to gain insight into the overall work of the monks, but after a visit to the Garden of the Mother of God as the Holy Mountain is often called by the monks, we will be closer to the Lord and the power of the monks will enlighten our lifes.
Such a journey leaves it's marksand writes it's text indelibly in our book of life. This is the gift of the monks to us seculars on our search for God.
The question of all questions
What are visitors or pilgrims who visit to a monastery on Mount Athos looking for, who in some cases take upon themselfs long marches and hardships? These people will probably answer love, comfort, peace or just a reference to God. Is the question what is a person looking for, who opts for the monastic life as a monk not much more important?
We have also discussed this issue many times and each time we had answers that may be correct or partlycorrect. Did we actually expect to be able to answer these questions just like that? Perhaps the abbot of one of the monasteries on Mount Athos can bring us nearer to the answer with his words:
The monastic life is the attempt of the believer and the desire of people to live freely, to live happy and to go his way with God. It is the way to God. The more we live with the Holy Spirit, seek Him, the more we are monks.
A deep mystery is the life of the monks behind the monastery walls, upon which the pilgrims have only the grace to take a short look and feel the Lord.
If you meet the monks and look into their always friendly faces, you realize the power that they radiate.
It is like a light in the dark, which gives us pilgrims strength and consolation.
We will never get an insight into the entire monasticism, but after a visit to Mount Athos, will be closer to the Lord and the strength of these monks will brighten our lives, and perhaps let us recognize the good things in life.
A visit to the monasteries gives us a sense of the unchangeable, eternal love, such a trip leaves its tracks and writes its text for ever in our book of live.
That is the gift of the monks to us worldly on our search of the lord.
A wide range of selected pictures of Athos. Every image is copyrighted property of Holidays and More and may only be copied or used with explicit permission.
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