The Byzantine Antiquity of Mount Athos and Orthodoxy

Mount Athos Monk

The most prominent of all Orthodox faiths commences at the sacred Monasteries of Agion Oros, where Mount Athos protrudes amongst all with divine glory. It is the sanctuary, with which heritage and the hermitage of which all Orthodoxy and Christianity through all of the epochs of mankind have engrossed pneumatically and internationally all worshippers to its Holy shrines.

The Byzantine Antiquity of Mount Athos and Orthodoxy
The Byzantine Antiquity of Mount Athos and Orthodoxy

It is situated on the coastal peninsula of Halkidiki, marking its historic establishment in 1052. During the four hundred years of Ottoman occupation, many of the monasteries were seized and destroyed, as well as many monks and Christians who became victims of the barbaric means of execution. Many were beheaded due to their faith and who were impertinent to not betray their faith, and Christians were protected in underground shelters in the monasteries.

During the Ottoman occupation, reinforcement of injustice towards the Orthodox Christian faith was very dominantly executed, thus prohibiting children from attending education in schools.

Monks walking Through the Streets of Mount Athos

In order to save and support the young generation of children, the monks invented and built secret passages within the monasteries that would help secure them and tutor them with ecclesiastical hymns, liturgies, and the Greek language.

These were the 'Secret Schools' that children attended in order to avoid becoming enslaved or becoming janissaries. It is very unfortunate during the latter years of Christianity, till the current years, that one undeniably notices blasphemy, disrespect modernism, uncultivated minds who do not understand the essence of the purity of Agion Oros and why it is referred to as the 'Avaton', surface ignorance but also incompetence in their attitude.

Mount Athos has a history of centuries well before the Ottoman's occupation, and it is recognised globally as the Holy Sanctuary, with Mount Athos where the Virgin Mary's orchard is called: 'Το περιβόλι της Παναγιάς' to which monks honour, pray and fast for mankind's repent remorse and forgiveness.

Mount Athos
Mount Athos

The wonderful orchard of the Virgin Mary solemnly protrudes amongst all the monasteries surrounding it, and the Mother of Christ is the only representative of the female gender to enter due to purity.

King Charles and Prince Phillip, when he was alive, often visited Agion Oros and, in fact, became Orthodox due to the fact that Prince Phillip is of Hellenic origin. On no account had Prince Phillip or Prince Charles complained about denying or restricting their Majesties' wives from being permitted to visit the Holy Agion Oros monasteries. Therefore, restrictions must be abided by to protect from sacrilege and maintain the sole traditions consigned for centuries.

For many centuries and through the endangered epoch, the historic emblem of the monasteries has achieved the difficult task of stabilising Christianity from the intervention of alienated resources and has retained their divine knowledge through different manuscripts.

Monks on Mount Athos
Monks on Mount Athos

Even more so today, as Greece is under the worst influence of annihilation, they withstand with their constant faith and prayer for our salvation. Every monastery currently has technological means of communication with which citizens who choose to comply or to seek information concerning religious thematic queries will be enlightened most willingly by the monks.

The monasteries have developed many interesting features through which nature has invested such a plethora of herbs. They cultivate herbs, recognise botany, and, from their chronological experiences, cultivate many therapeutic organic creams and health products that are remarkably beneficial for many allergies and ailments.

It must be clarified that herbal products are not a business trade whatsoever since the least money received is for the restoration of the monasteries, which the monks themselves restore.

Another interesting fact, which most may not recognise, is the fact that the monks have kept ancient Byzantine recipes, which have been recently acknowledged and admired by other Mediterranean countries as being amongst the healthiest since the dietary ingredients used to help establish healthy hearts and metabolisms.

May all who believe and have faith be blessed, and those who do not seek their enlightenment since all have the spark of seeking within and have the choice of repent.

By Chrysanthe Ntemos

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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