Mount Athos, a spectacularly beautiful rocky peninsula jutting out from the coast of northeastern Greece, has been a monastic preserve since the ninth century. Known as the Holy Mountain, it serves as the centre of monasticism for all the Eastern Orthodox churches and remains fundamentally unchanged despite the storms of political and religious conflict that have raged over the centuries. This is an illustrated history of Mount Athos. It encompasses the entire story of Athos from the first anchorite monks who lived in caves and simple huts to the establishment of the first monasteries in the tenth century to the monastic renewal that is taking place there today. Illustrated with historical and contemporary images, the text considers the influence of outside political events on the men (for only men are allowed) of the Holy Mountain and, more importantly, the impact of spiritual movements and religious controversy. What emerges is an account of the centuries-old Athonite way of life as well as a portrait of thriving monastic communities at the beginning of the 21st century.
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Graham Speake is by training a classicist and by profession an academic publisher. He is founder and honorary secretary of the Friends of Mount Athos and a frequent visitor to the Mountain.Review:
"This beautifully produced book contains everything the layman could wish to know about Athos. It is more, much more, than a mere travel book, though it would be a useful addition to the Orthodox pilgrim's knapsack."—The Tablet
"Superb photographs, fascinating. Travelers and pilgrims alike, as well as those who prefer to stay at home, will relish this tour of Athos's history, its relics and treasures, and, in part, its consciousness.”—Literary Review
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