June 12, 2011

Pentecost on Mount Athos

Fresco in Koutloumoussiou Monastery
 Mount Athos
Mount Athos is not for everyone, at least it isn’t for women—the last authorized female pilgrim set foot there sixteen centuries ago, and her name was Galla Placidia, the daughter of  Theodosius, the Christian emperor of Rome (and Constantinople), but as soon as she entered one of Athos’s monasteries, an icon of the Virgin ordered her: “Halt!” and enjoined her to leave the mountain…

Yet, Mount Athos is a truly holy land that inspires fear of God, a place of free spirits and great charismatics, a place without time, unless it is that of the angelic spheres. On Athos “logos is wed to praxis,” word to deeds, says Eliseos, the igoumenos:

The monk has to show that the truths are reality. He has to live the Gospel in a perfect way. This is why his presence in the world is essential. Saint John Climakos wrote: “Angels are light for monks, monks are light for men.”

A voyage to the holy mountain of the Orthodox Church. First conducted and recounted in 1997. Meaning now, this year. “Because on Athos, earthly time is one and the same as the eternal today of heaven.”

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