The Spirit of Mount Athos
Geography Mount Athos is situated in the eastern and most enchanting third peninsula of Halkidiki, which is called the peninsula of Athos. It is the only place in Greece, which is totally devoted to praying and worshiping God and thus, it is called the Holy Mountain. The Holy Mountain or the Mount Athos has about 50 Km length, 8 to 12 Km width and it covers a surface of about 350 square km. The borders of the monasterial city are set on the ground by an imaginary line that begins from the location "Fragokastro" on the West coast and reaches the cape "Arapis" on the opposite side. The natural beauty of the peninsula is wonderful. The Mount Athos that dominates there is an enormous cone of 2.033m height. It’s bare top that seems to be piercing the sky and its slopes, which are full of old evergreens, give the area a unique natural beauty.
Mount Athos is a self- governed division of the Greek state. Politically it comes under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but religiously it comes under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It has been divided into twenty self- governed territories. Each territory consists of a leading monastery and some other monastic settlements around it (hermitages, cells, huts, seats). All the monasteries are communes, which means that the monks have a common liturgy, prayer, housing, board and work. The Abbot of the monastery, who is elected by the monks for life, is in charge of the monastery. The Abbots of the monasteries are members of the Holy Assembly and exercise legislative authority. Furthermore, every year the monastery elects its representative in the Holy Community, which exercises administrative authority, while the Holy Supervision exercises executive authority and is consisted of 4 members, elected by the first 5 leading monasteries.