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Mount Athos

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[[Image:Athos.jpg|right|thumb|400px|Mount Athos as seen from the ridge road]]
'''Mount Athos''' is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, called <font lang="el">&#902;&#947;&#953;&#959; &#908;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Ayio Oros'' or "Holy Mountain") in Modern Greek, or <font lang="el">&#x1F0D;&#947;&#953;&#959;&#957; &#x1F4C;&#961;&#959;&#962;</font> (''Hagion Oros'') in Classical Greek. It is home to 20 [[Orthodox Church|Orthodox]] [[monastery|monasteries]] and forms an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty. Only [[monasticism|monks]] are allowed to live establish permanent residency on Athos and the current population numbers around 1,400. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km&sup2;, with the actual mountain and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m.
The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous. Xerxes I had a channel excavated across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC.
Mount Athos as a monastic community was formally founded in 963, when St. [[Athanasius of Athos|Athanasius]] (not to be confused with the 4th century St. [[Athanasius the Great]]) established the monastery of [[Great Lavra (Athos)|Great Lavra]], still the largest and most prominent of the 20 monasteries. It enjoyed the protection of the emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire during the following centuries and its wealth and possessions grew considerably. The [[Fourth Crusade]] in the 13th century brought new [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] overlords which forced the monks to seek protection from Pope Innocent III, until the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. It was raided by Catalan mercenaries in the 14th century, a century that also saw the theological conflict over the [[hesychasm]] practised on Mount Athos and defended by [[Gregory Palamas]].
The Byzantine Empire collapsed in the 15th century and the newly established [[Islam|Islamic]] Ottoman Empire took over. They heavily taxed the monasteries, but for the most part left them alone. The population of monks and their wealth declined over the next centuries, but was revitalised revitalized around the 19th century by the donations and new arrivals from other Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, while each country came to exert its influence on individual monasteries. In 1912, during the First Balkan War, the Ottomans were forced out and after a brief conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty, the peninsula formally came under Greek sovereignty after World War I.
Politically the peninsula is mostly self-governed and consists of 20 main monasteries and the capital city and administrative centrecenter, [[Karyes (Athos)|Karyes]], also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. Beyond the monasteries there are 12 ''[[skete|sketae]]'', smaller which are dependent communities of monksa monastery, as well as many (solitary) hermitages throughout the peninsula. Visits to the peninsula are possible for laymen, but they need [ special permission].
[[Image:Xenophontos_Monastery.jpg|left|thumb|400px|[[Xenophontos Monastery (Athos)|Xenophontos Monastery]]]]Women are completely barred from the peninsula, a fact which has earned a certain amount of fame; even female domestic animals (with the exception, some say, of cats, as well as chickens which lay eggs that provide the fresh egg yolk needed for the paint used in [[iconography]]) are forbidden. However, during the Greek Civil War, Athos did shelter refugees including women and girls. []The reason for the ban are various miracles of the Mother of God when she shown her desire in this matter and, also, a canon forbidding male visitors to enter female monasteries, and female visitors to male monasteries. While not observed in most monasteries today, Athos is by no means unique in its enforcement of the rule. Unique to Athos is the fact that, due to the whole peninsula being devoted to the monastic vocation, the rule is observed also outside the monastery walls.
In modern times, the Mount Athos monasteries have repeatedly been struck by wildfires, e.g. in August 1990, and in March 2004, fire gutted a large section of the Serbian monastarymonastery, [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]]. Due to the secluded locations of the monasteries, often atop small hills, as well as the unavailability of suitable fire fighting gear, the damages inflicted by these fires are often considerable.
== Languages ==
Greek is commonly used in all Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use, in [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon]], Russian; in [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Chilandari]], Serbian; in [[Zographou Monastery (Athos)|Zographou]], Bulgarian; and in the sketae of [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou]] and [[Lacu Skete (Athos)|Lacu]], Romanian. Today, many of the Greek monks can also understand English or other European languages.
[[Image:Xenophontos_Monastery.jpg|right|thumb|300px|[[Xenophontos Monastery (Athos)|Xenophontos Monastery]]]]
[[Image:Iviron_Sea.jpg|right|thumb|300px|Looking toward the sea from the main entrance of [[Iviron Monastery (Athos)|Iviron Monastery]]]]
[[Image:Panteleimon_Monastery.jpg|right|thumb|300px|[[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]]]
== List of Monasteries and Sketes ==
* [[Esphigmenou Monastery (Athos)|Esphigmenou Monastery]]
* [[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]
* [[Konstamonitou Monastery (Athos)|Konstamonitou Monastery]]|
| width="33%" align="left" valign="top"|'''The Sketes'''<br /><br />* [[Prodromou Skete (Athos)|Prodromou Skete(of Saint John the Forerunner)]]
* [[St. Anne's Skete (Athos)|St. Anne's Skete]]
* [[Little St. Anne's Skete (Athos)|Little St. Anne's Skete]]
* [[Kafsokalyvia Skete (Athos)|Kafsokalyvia Skete]]
* [[Skete of Vatopedi (Athos)|Skete of Vatopedi(of Saint Demetrios) ]]* [[Skete of Iviron (Athos)|Skete of Iviron(of Saint John the Forerunner)]]* [[Skete of Koutloumousiou (Athos)|Skete of Koutloumousiou(of Saint Panteleimon)]]* [[Skete of Pantokratoros (Athos)|Skete of Pantokratoros(of Saint Elijah)]]
* [[New Skete (Athos)|New Skete]] (''Nea Skiti'')
* [[Lacu Skete (Athos)|Lacu Skete (of Saint Demetrios)]] (''Lakkoskete'')* [[Skete of Xenophontos (Athos)|Skete of Xenophontos(of Announciation)]]
* [[St. Basil's Skete (Athos)|St. Basil's Skete]]
* [[Provata Skete (Athos)|Provata Skete]]<br /><br /> | width="33%" align="left" valign="top"|'''Associated Monasteries'''<br /> 
* [[Cenobium of the Annunciation (Ormylia, Chalkidiki)]]
* [[Monastery of St. John the Theologian - Souroti]]
[[Image:Iviron_Sea.jpg|right|thumb|350px|Looking toward the sea from the main entrance of [[Iviron Monastery (Athos)|Iviron Monastery]]]]
<!--==Public figures: Saints, Elders and Teachers==
:''n.b. only those with articles, and those whose monastery, or skete or cell doesn't have an article, are listed''
[[Image:Panteleimon_Monastery.jpg|left|thumb|300px|[[St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)|St. Panteleimon's Monastery]]]]
== World Heritage Classification, UNESCO ==*Date of Inscription - 1988*Reference No. 454*Criteria: (i), (ii), (iv), (v), (vi) and (vii)**''An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The 'Holy Mountain', which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far afield as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art.'' <ref> United Nations - Copyright © 1992-2008 UNESCO World Heritage Centre </ref>*Documentations**1988, [ "Advisory Body Evaluation"]**1988, [ Decision "Report of the 12th Session of the Committee"]**2004, [ Decision "28COM 15B.37"]**2005, [ Decision "29COM 7B.32"]**2006, [ Periodic Reporting "(cycle 1) Section II Summary"]**2006, [ Decision "30COM 7B.34"] == References ==<references/> == External links ==*[ The Ascetic Experience - an Athonite site run by Athonite monks]*[ A Pilgrim's Guide to Mount Athos]
*[{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000002}View.html Mount Athos Monasteries]
*[ Greece Mount Athos]
*[ Mount Athos]
*[ Athos - Monastic life on the Holy Mountain (exhibition)]
*[ Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents]. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
*[ Information for Pilgrims]
*[ Called to the Holy Mountain: The Monks of Mount Athos] by Robert Draper, photographs by Travis Dove, from ''National Geographic''
*[ Holy Mount Athos]
[[Category:Featured Articles]]
[[Category:Athonite Monasteries]]
[[Category:Orthodox UNESCO World Heritage Sites]]
[[ar:جبل آثوس]]
[[el:Άγιο Όρος]]
[[es:Monte Athos]]
[[fr:République monastique du Mont Athos]]
[[mk:Света Гора]]
[[ro:Muntele Athos]]
[[ru:Святая гора Афон]]
[[sr:Света Гора]]

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