Populaire Trefwoorden


Mount Athos

MOUNT ATHOS is a land of monks and hermits where no woman, child or eunuch is admitted. Twenty ‘Ruling Monasteries’ provide the unique form of local government over this remote peninsula in northern Greece which culminates in the 7,000-foot peak—the Holy Mountain of the Orthodox faith. The authors of this book came to study the churches, libraries and treasures and to record in photographs as much as the monks would permit. Apart from staying at the great monasteries—seventeen of which are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian—they also visited some of the dependent communities. Those vary in size from small villages to the precarious cliff dwellings of the true anchorites who still seek after the ‘Uncreated Light of Mount Tabor’ and follow the austerities prescribed a thousand years ago by St Athanasius the Athonite. In a paradise of mountain and forest, Athos constitutes a survival from the Byzantine age, but recruits are few, and the noise and tensions of the modern world are closing in. This book attempts to portray some aspects of a strange, picturesque but doomed way of life. The first section consists of an account by John Julius Norwich of the history of Athos from its origins to the present day, and relates this to the lives of the monks themselves. He seeks to analyze and explain their motives, impulses and beliefs. The second half of the book comprises the journal of Reresby Sitwell and describes the individual monasteries and other places of interest, the adventures of the journey and how the ceremonial pattern of welcome was varied everywhere by the vagaries of hospitality and cuisine. The book is dramatically illustrated with thirty-two pages of photographs in full color and as many black and white, all contributed by the authors and their companion, A. Costa.