Holy Mount Athos


Four years after the burial of a monk, the remains are digged out again. The skulls are cleaned with wine and the name of the chaplain is added to them.


At dawn the last monk rushes back to the monastery. After sunset the gates are getting shut.


A monk reads from a historic book.


At he ceremonies the monks are wearing a headscarf. Otherwise they would be desecrated.


Many of the monasteries and settlements are built right into the steep and rocky cliffs of mount Athos.


Two monks at the monastery of Megistis Lavras, which is the oldest on the peninsula.


A settlement close to Karies. Karies is the only village on Athos.


Many of the monastery are harvesting there land. This monk is trimming olive trees.


Three monks in the early morning. The inner courtyard is the central point in the monasteries.


Almost every monastery has his own quay. Once a day a ship delivers mails, groceries and pilgrims.


A monk is seen in a cave on the foot of mount Athos.


In a grave-chamber a monk is lighting a candle.


In the early morning mist a pilgrim is heading out to the next monastery.


Two times a week the monastery is getting cleaned. Every monk has his own task.


Many monks have access to modern communication devices, so they can stay in touch with their families.


The black hat is the typical headdress of the monks.


Around mount Athos many little islands are towering out of the ocean.


Holy Mount Athos
Journey to a place locked in time

For more than 1000 years orthodox monks have settled at the foot of the holy mount Athos. Athos is a self-governing republic of monks, situated in the Greek peninsula Chalkidiki. 

Approximately 2300 monks, divided into 20 large monasteries and numerous hermitages, live on Mount Athos. The peninsula can be considered the center of the orthodox faith: Mecca of the Byzantine world. 

A twenty kilometer are of wilderness separates this unique republic from the rest of the world. Athos is only accessible by boat and special permission is needed. As on of their basic principles, entrance for woman is denied. After entering the republic one may feel as if they’ve stepped into an era going back hundreds of years, into a world without noise, stress or haste. 
The clocks on Athos run on a different time: six hours ahead. That means the day starts at 1:00 am and ends by 6:00 pm. A strict schedule forms the daily routine of the monks, which includes hours of praying, garden work, chanting and the preparation of the ceremonies. 

Athos implies a unique kind of spiritual cohabitation, untouched by our fast and modern society.

By Julius Schrank and Florian Manz. Published in Modern Times

Julius Schrank