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Geographic location

The third, easternmost and most captivating peninsula in Halkidiki, the peninsula of Athos is today occupied by the Holy Community of Mt. Athos. This is the only area in Greece completely dedicated to prayer and the worship of God. That’s why it is called Holy Mountain. The Holy Mountain extends over 50 kilometers while its breadth ranges from 8 to 12 kilometers and its area covers roughly 350 square kilometers. The borders of this monastic state are defined, on land, with an imaginable line beginning at the western coast and location “Fragokastro” (Frankish castle) and reaching the cape “Arapis” on the opposite end. There are many marvelous sites in this peninsula. The Mountain Athos dominating on it is a huge cone with a height that reaches 2.033 meters. Its bare peak appears as if spearing the sky, while its slopes, wooded with perennial trees, lend an incomparable aesthetic beauty to this enchanting area. 

Administration: Mount Athos is a self-governing part of the Greek State, politically subsumed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and religiously under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. 

Territorially it has been divided into twenty self-governed territories. Each territory comprises of a cardinal monastery and various other monastic settlements around it [sketae (cloisters), cells, huts, seats, retreats]. 

All monasteries are coenobiums of a convent nature, namely there are common masses, prayers, housing and nurishment, while all monks share the work. Head of each monastery is its Abbot, elected by the monks of the monastery for life. The Abbots of each monastery convene for the Holy Convention which exercises legislative authority. Parallel on an annual basis each monastery elects its representative to the Holy Community which exercises administrative authority, while the executive power is exercised by the Holy Administration, which comprises of 4 members selected by the 5 hieratically principal monasteries. 


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