Talk:Mount Athos

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Name pronounciation[edit]

On map showing position of MountAthos it's virtually impossible to see the intended position. Maybe a circle or arrow to site would help our poor old eyes.

I want to clarify the pronounciation of greek vowels and consonants. I am from Greece but I live in UK now and I can understand why is this so difficult for not Greecs to pronounce Greek words. Hagion Oros will be the most accurate tranfer from greek to English even though "H" is not needed for the greeks. The letter "n" at the end of Hagion is basically coming from ancient greek. Due to the fact that Hagion Oros kept all the traditional characteristics of the past Greek History, it would have been discrepancy of not using ancient greek in their everyday time. I dont mean that they talk to each other in ancient greek but all the Hymnoi and songs that are being performed during ceremonies are all in ancient greek. I hope to make it more simple to everyone to assimilate greek pronounciation history as well as traditional and cultural principles. --nakos2208

"Ayion Oros" seems to be a case of using the letter "y" to transliterate the Greek letter gamma. Usually in English the most famous building in Istanbul is called the "Hagia Sophia", not the "Ayia Sophia". What criteria govern the choice of letters in transliterating from Greek? Surely transliterated etyma in dictionaries would have said "Hagion Oros", wouldn't they? -- Mike Hardy

I have no idea. I don't speak or read Greek and just used the spelling that existed in other articles here. I did note that other external pages also use either your suggestion (Hagion), or Agion (see the external link). I'm not aware of any established prefered Greek > Latin transliteration on Wikipedia, so if there is one clearly official transliteration, then feel free to change the Greek words in Wikipedia. -Scipius 22:44 Dec 15, 2002 (UTC)

I think "Hagion" is classical and "Ayion" is more modern, although in actual Greek letters the spelling is probably the same. The "Greece" article says "Elliniki" rather than "Helleniki", and I suspect that's deliberate modernity. (I'm no expert though. If someone with actual expertise in this area decided to change "Hagion" to "Ayion" or something else, could they explain the relevant facts about the Greek language here on this talk page?) -- Mike Hardy

And now I've Googled it, and I find both spellings and some others. I think in Greek it's alpha-gamma-iota-omicron-nu, with a "breath-mark" before the alpha if you follow conventions taught in classical Greek courses. I definitely prefer "Hagion", not only because gamma is conventionally thought of as corresponding to our "g", but also because it's in accord with "Hagia Sophia", so that keeps things simple by not having several spellings. -- Mike Hardy

Another problem: If it is "Hagion Oros" or "Ayion Oros" in Greek, then whence the name "Athos"? Isn't it from Greek? If so, is it part of a Greek phrase consisting of more than one word, that would be translated by saying "Mount Athos"? I'm guessing the spelling would be ΑΘΟΣ. -- Mike Hardy

In both modern and ancient Greek there is no 'h'. In ancient Greek there is a breath-mark before the 'a', but this was likely not pronounced as an English 'h' would be. Most Greeks consider the transliterations "Hagia" or "Hagion" (along with "Hellenic" and other similar forms) to be mistaken renditions and are attempting to correct the error (much as the transliteration of the Indian city of Bombay is being corrected to Mumbai and the Chinese city of Peking was corrected to Beijing decades ago).

As for Athos, Greeks typically (at least in modern Greek) simply refer to mountains using the name, as typically only well-known mountains are referred to by name. Hence, the mountain is simply "Athos" (similarly, what would be called "Mount Olympus" in English is simply "Olymbos" in Greek). I suppose something like "to vouno Athos" ("the mountain 'Athos'") would be acceptable as well when context was unclear, but it is certainly not common. Delirium 07:43 27 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Well, the Greek name is Αθως (or ΑΘΩΣ in capital letters). I've changed the second name (Άγιον Όρος) since the punctuation did not show. My question is: now that I can see it properly is it because I have Greek fonts installed in my computer or not? Do other users see it properly? Please comment, since I don't want to ruin wikipedia pages by changing the Greek fonts. Thanks! --User: 15:11, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

EU VAT area[edit]

Would anybody happen to know why Mount Athos - alone of all Greek mountains - is not part of the EU VAT area? (Special member state territories and their relations with the EU#Greece) -- Itai 22:08, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

  • If that is true, then it would reflect the Greek desire that EU law should not automatically apply on Mount Athos (reflected in its accession treaty), and thus preserving its autonomy. --Henrygb 00:25, 16 May 2004 (UTC)
    • It would be nice to see a mention of this in the article; does anybody know details? --The Minister of War 09:38, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
      • I believe it was a condition of joining the EU by the Greeks.

Peninsula of Mount[edit]

"Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula" - I'm sorry, but I find it a little hard to believe that the peninsula is called "Mount Athos", not just "Athos". Maybe this sentence could be rephrased? Or, according to the discussion above (as Greeks do not stress the 'Mount' part anyway), could the article be renamed something like 'Athos (mountain and peninsula)'? --Oop 14:29, Sep 17, 2004 (UTC)

I belive Mount Athos is the name of the peninsula and not a direct scientific description of the area in geologycal terms --JvlivsCaesar 01:46, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Peninsula, mountain and autonomous monastic republic[edit]

Athos as a name is used for all of these. I propose we keep this article for the monastic republic and create separate articles for the other two: Athos (mountain) and Athos (peninsula). Thoughts? --Michalis Famelis (talk) 02:02, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

The photo[edit]

The photo should say which monastery this is, by name.

Additional, commented out information[edit]

I resectioned and rearranged the whole article, but I don't have time to do any actual editing. The following (huge) chunk was commented out ( with these: <-- ''text here'' --!> in the article and seems to contain information (I didn't read it, it just looks like it).

By the way, to the editor who added this commented out: don't be ashamed to make your additions visible. Wikipedia is not created by some "enlightened" elite, but by common people like you and me. Be bold in editing! --Michalis Famelis (talk) 15:34, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

the info[edit]

When Pres. Putin visited Rossikon this year, no Ukrainian connection was mentioned. The above monasteries are not property of a specific country, but "belong" to some nationalities by tradition, based on old documents. Any Orthodox monk, from any nationality, can be accepted in any of the monasteries, but most monks feel better if they are together with people speaking the same language. The "Serbian" monastery was donated by emperor Alexios III Komninos (1195-1203) "to the Serbs as eternal gift..." The "Romanian" skiti of St. John the Forerunner (skiti Timiou Prodromou) has a document from the monastery of Great Lavra dated 1820 according to which it was donated "to the devout tribe of Moldovans for creating a coenobitic skiti". I do not know any official document about the "Romanian" Lakkoskiti, although inscriptions of 1606 AD show that the monks were Slavs (possibly Moldovans) while in 1754 are documented as Moldovans. Part of Moldova of that time belongs now to Romania, while another part is today independent bearing the name Moldova. The "Bulgarian" Zografou monastery has no such documents - possibly there were, but destroyed. Up to 1192 it is proven that its monks are Greeks. The Bulgarian Chzar John II Asan (1218-1241) renovated the monastery. In the 14th century the monastery was burned together with 26 monks by raiders, possibly Catalans (although some tradition says that was destroyed by the "Pope"), and all the documents were lost. Between 15th and 19th century it had monks from different countries, like Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Vlachia (Romania) and received also great donnations from different countries. Between 1862-1896 it was renovated with expences of the Bulgarian government. Now about the "Russian" monastery. The presence of Russian speaking monks is detected since 1020 in a small monastery named "of Xylourgos", that is today "the Bulgarian skiti Vogoroditsa". In 1169 the abbot asked from the "Holy Assembly" of the monks of Mount Athos for a bigger monastery, because the brotherhood was very big and the "Thessalonikeos Monastery" was offered. In this monastery (today is known as Palaiomonastiro) the services in the church were held both in Greek and Russian language. In the beginning of the 14th century it was also burned down by the Catalans and all archives were destroyed. Very difficult years follow. The Russian traveller Barski in 1725-26 records 4 monks only (2 Russians and 2 Bulgarians) while in 1744 the monks are a few Greeks - no Russians. A little later the monks are transferred to the harbor of the monastery to make their life easier, and this is the place of the monastery of St. Panteleimon of today. In 1806 it was recognized by a Patriarchal edict as "coenobitic monastery of Kallimachis family". This family (of Greek origin) had given many local governors at the countries around the lower part of Danube river (Today we can say Romania and Moldova). In 1874 in this monastery there were 400 Russians and 190 Greek monks, and in 1875 the new elected abbot was Russian. In 1895 the Russian monks reached 1000 and in 1902 about 1500. This "growth" was part of the Russian target to create a naval base in the Aegean Sea for the Russian fleet. During the WWI and after the Communist revolution of 1917) the Russian "soldger-monks" returned to their country and only the real monks remained. It is still called "Russian", but according to the Patriarchical edict it belongs to the "Kallimachis family". This can be interpreted as if it belongs to the "people governed by Kallimachis family" (a monastery can not be property of a family), and on that time those people were living around Danube river and not in Russia. It is documented that most of the monks of the "Russian monastery" today are from Ukraine and according to my personal experience, some years ago there were 17 monks. Anyway, I do not want to fight about all this, and I don't know if all this info has to be placed in this encyclopedia. - Thank you for your comment, this means that there is really scientific check-up of all the info in this great site. Stefanos Sakellaridis - Greek - but living now in Philippines. You can erase this info or you can use it in any way you like !!!


The article states that, because the peninsula was given to Mary, Mother of God as her private garden, it was therefore out of bounds to all other women. It then goes on to say that women are prohibited due to sexual temptation of the monks. Which is right? (and if the answer is "both", the Mary explanation should be briefly re-stated at the area mentioning the sexual temptation angle.) --Canuckguy 05:27, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

The Holy Mountain is prohibited actually to all females, including mammals, not just human women. This is indeed because it was dedicated to Mary, and has nothing to do with monks being tempted by sexuality. Eugene-elgato (talk) 23:38, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

The above would need a source. See bottom of discussion. Shadowmorph ^"^ 09:18, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Conflict between groups of monks on Mount Athos[edit]

As this appears to be an occasional/intermittent occurrence - an incident was reported in the news today - there should be a couple of sentences on the subject. Jackiespeel 14:59, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

For a more thorough description of the conflict see Esphigmenou Monastery#Controversy. --Michalis Famelis (talk)

Greek -> English[edit]

The English needs touching up - I'll do it if no one objects. InfernoXV 08:58, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Not quite sure what you mean (the article is not a translation from the Greek wikipedia) but the article does need cleanup, especially the "Administration and organization" and "Culture and life in the Hagion Oros" sections. You are more than welcome to help!! :-) --Michalis Famelis (talk) 14:16, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Tour Guide Format[edit]

Parts of this entry seem to depart from being encyclopaedic and take on the format of a "tour guide", including advisories as to what the intending visitor should see and do. In this regards, the POV loses neutrality.

-- AnonymousDonor

Just thought i'd mention that a useful english expression for 'diamonitirion' is 'hermit permit'.

-- Tom Anderson 2007-06-26 17:22 +0100

I agree the previous "hospitality" section was too tour-guide-ish, but something on the subject should be added, I think. The fact that the number of "pilgrims" (in reality mostly tourists) is going up while the number of monks is going down has had significant impact on the economics and social life of the monasteries. I'll see if I can dig up an article about it. --Delirium 02:10, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikitravel has the beginnings of a travel guide at [1], relevant content here should (where GFDL/CC licensing allows) be moved over. Jpatokal (talk) 06:17, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Mount Athos in EU[edit]

Mount Athos is a full part of Greece, European Union and its custom territory, only it's outside EU VAT territory. I removed the wrong news, which included a comparison with Channel Islands which had nothing to do with reality, because Channel Islands are stranger at all to EU. More, I don't understand what you mean in writing that Dora Bakoyannis is the "head of State" of Mount Athos, which seems, also, a provocation for an only-males state. Being part of Greece, the Head of State is the President of Greece; for local purposes, there is not a Head of State, but a democratic Council represented all monasteries. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Costantinople, whose name is Vartholomaios I (not Bartholomew: he is not and Englishman!) is only the religious leader,being the Republic in his territory, together Turkey, Crete, Dodekanessos, Wester Europe, one of the two Orthodox churches of Estonia, America, Oceania and the Metropolitan See of Hong Kong. VAl FROM EU —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:49, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Yeah the "head of state" is weird. Mount Athos is an autonomous region of Greece, much like the Åland Islands are an autonomous region of Finland, and as so it doesn't itself really have a head of state, but is ultimately under its parent country's head of state. As far as the position towards the EU, yes, all of Greece is part of the EU... Mount Athos is just: 1) outside the VAT regime; and 2) specially exempted from some parts of EU legislation as part of Greece's accession treaty. --Delirium (talk) 07:59, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

The English, Spanish, and Italian Wiki-articles describe Mt. Athos as an ecclesiastic elective monarchy. I dont believe the 1927 constitution of Mt. Athos described it as a monarchy nor republic. I think that it is better described as an 'autonomous monastic state' within Greece, with an elected Superior (Abbot) called a Protos, who is head of the secular government in Karyes; The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the spiritual head. Why was this listed as an elective monarchy.? This term should be edited out. Kaelin von Gross —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Prohibition of entry for women[edit]

The article states that women are prohibited from entering "not in order to reduce sexual temptation", but because "monks feel that the presence of women alters the social dynamics of the community and therefore slows the path towards spiritual enlightenment". Right afterwards, it goes on to clarify that female animals are also forbidden entry.

How, exactly, would female domesticated animals "alter the social dynamics of the community?"

Seems like fancy dressing for medieval views of the female (of all species, no less!) as "unworthy" or "unclean". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

The talk page is about discussion of edits, not about one's views of the subject. InfernoXV (talk) 04:49, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
The claim should probably be referenced, though (the citation at the end of the paragraph doesn't say anything about social dynamics). --Delirium (talk) 05:01, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah the mountain traditionally was dedicated by Mary to herself, and it became custom that no female animal should step foot there; this was crystallized by a Byzantine imperial edict on the matter. Eugene-elgato (talk) 23:40, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

There is no indication that this is true. I removed the unreferenced material about animals. The source that was previously there was a joke, not reliable. It was a reply about potentially one single monastery and the author stated explicitly that the matter was outside his expertise. The first sentence about the reasons of why the monks protect the prohibition also needs a citation. Shadowmorph ^"^ 09:15, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

The monks prohibit female domestic animals because they require extra maintenance. It's not a "medieval superstition", it's for practicality. All monks are required to attend every service which cannot be done when there are cows to be milked. Here is a video where a monk explains the matter:

You have to go to about 4:35. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


The infobox has some flaws. The first flag shown is not the official nor used by all the monasteries who use their own flags. Since mount Athos is inside the sovereignty of Greece the proper flag to display would be the flag of Greece. Since Agion Oros is also a subordinate to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople then the seal (not "coat of arms") of that can be used. I believe that in the seal of the Patriarchate the eagle does not hold a sword in its "hand" but rather a cross. All that would need some footnote descriptions and maybe the standard country infobox poses a problem. Shadowmorph ^"^ 09:26, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Here is a photo of an official occasion in Karyes, Mount Athos

The Ecumenical Patriarch, the head of the Orthodox Church, is seen together with Greek officials. The two flags chosen by the autonomous community itself to be displayed there are the traditional Greek flag and the Byzantine flag with the double headed eagle in the yellow background. Unfortunately there is not enough resolution to portray if the "eagle bearing the cross" or the one bearing the sword is shown in the flag. Shadowmorph ^"^ 10:05, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

HMS Ark Royal[edit]

What is the connection of this vessel to Mount Athos? I've read all this article and also the whole of the relevant article on HMS Ark Royal and I cannot find a stated connection. Agent0060 13:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

This question is now answered in the article: Stamps for Mount Athos were printed there. Btw, if someone wants to follow this up, the section, as it stands appears, to be a cut-and-paste copyright violation of "Travel Greece" [1] (talk) 07:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Minor corrections and a formatting problem[edit]

I made some small factual corrections regarding the helicopter crash on 11 September 2004 that killed Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and his entourage, and added citations.

Perhaps more importantly, while doing this, and switching from one computer to another, I noticed that although the formatting of the article is fine in IE8, in IE9 the formatting is incorrect. There is a large white space after the Contents box, with the section entitled Geography appearing below the last info box on the right, rather than alongside the info boxes.

Sorry, I've no idea how to correct this myself. StefanosPavlos (talk) 21:36, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).