Saturday September 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
27o C
19o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The magical mountain

By Alexis Papachelas

Mount Athos is truly a magical mountain, not in the Thomas Mann sense of the term but rather as a blessed, holy place that speaks volumes to Greeks.

I don’t believe I have ever felt the way I did in the early morning hours, listening to hymns, watching the elderly monks on the benches, observing the younger monks artfully and patiently lighting candles in the chandeliers, in an incense-scented scene of absolute and disciplined beauty. Leaving aside the natural beauty and the few unique interlocutors who leave an indelible mark on visitors, the mountain is a source of inspiration offering an opportunity for recollection.

Mount Athos is various worlds in one. One part, rightly or wrongly, is identified with all the backward elements of modern Greek thinking, ranging from conspiracy theories to the most primitive perceptions of the modern world. But while backward-looking people look and listen to all that matches their bias and theories, those in search of their own balance vis-a-vis a complicated world will find solace in the landscape, the early dawn services and the discussions.

Athos also demonstrates the art of survival. The Church is the oldest political organization in the country and Mount Athos is living proof of how it has managed to overcome historical adversity, catastrophes as well as more ephemeral situations such as government and regime changes. A friend visited one of the barest, most primitive monasteries and saw a photograph of dictator Ioannis Metaxas there. He asked the abbot, “How come you still have a portrait of Metaxas hanging on the wall?” “He was a benefactor to our monastery,” the monk replied. “Sometimes we take longer to hang portraits of rulers, but, more importantly, we take even longer to bring them down.”

Stories of survival and the tactics of those in charge are passed on by word of mouth, from one generation of monks to the next as they continue to support and maintain their traditions. I remember an elderly monk explaining that his monastery had been able to expand thanks to the good will of the Byzantine emperor’s high-ranking secretary. “What today’s young politicians fail to understand is that they will disappear in a few years, but the monastery will still be here long after they’ve gone.” The self-assurance rendered by tradition and survival in the face of adversity is invincible and clearly Mount Athos teaches this unique art.

Athos is a unique heritage which we must protect and safeguard for centuries to come. In the meantime, its current representatives are walking a tightrope as they are called on to distinguish between what is necessary for survival from business and traditions of obscurantism.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday August 17, 2014 (17:39)  
High stakes after the Scottish vote
Breathing room
Greek society’s and lenders’ fatigue
Legitimacy control
Mayors resisting evaluation to face disciplinary action
Mayors and municipal employees who refuse to take part in a civil service evaluation scheme the government has undertaken as part of commitments to international creditors will face discipli...
Fyssas rally demonstrators face prosecutor after clashes
Sixty-four people arrested in Keratsini, a suburb of Piraeus, on Thursday, following clashes with police during an anti-racist march marking the one-year anniversary of the murder of rapper ...
Inside News
Record sum of new debts to the state in August
Expired debts to the state rose to a record high in August, according to data released on Friday by the Finance Ministry. The sum of taxes and fines that remained unpaid after their deadline...
‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
Greece will be able to meet its obligations without any new assistance from the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said on Friday in London, leaving the door ope...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Triumph for PAOK, historic result for Asteras in Europa League
Greek teams produced a patchy record on the opening night of the Europa League group stage on Thursday, as PAOK thrashed Dynamo Minsk, Asteras Tripolis snatched a draw at Besiktas and Panath...
SOCCER
Financial crisis forces Greek second division postponement
Greece's second soccer division Football League announced on Wednesday the postponement of the start of the season due to financial difficulties being faced by most clubs. "The board of dire...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
2. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
3. Mayors resisting evaluation to face disciplinary action
4. Fyssas rally demonstrators face prosecutor after clashes
5. PM in energy talks ahead of crucial meeting with Merkel
6. Attiki Odos Lamia exit to close Sunday
more news
Today
This Week
1. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
2. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
3. Hardouvelis signals Greece may skip IMF loans to exit aid curbs
4. EIB signs deals with Greece for 815-mln investment in infrastructure projects
5. Dozens of arrests at march to mark anniversary of Fyssas murder
6. Syntagma metro station to close for Fyssas tribute concert
Today
This Week
1. Greece on standby
2. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
3. Central Athens traffic restrictions back in force on Monday
4. Lost in the fog
5. Democracy under Pressure | Live Streaming
6. SYRIZA spokesman suggests gov't sought to stop NERIT airing Tsipras speech live
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.