For the orthodox monks it is still the place where the earth touches the sky and they can practice their way into the kingdom of God.
Mount Athos (Agio Oros – Holy Mountain)
With a history dating back over 1000 years, Mount Athos has been an orthodox autonomous monastic republic under international law since Byzantine times.
In the entire monastic republic there has been a law since 1045 that women and all female creatures (except for cats) are forbidden to enter. Even ships with women on board have to keep a distance of 500m.
The monastic state today has around 2500-3000 monks who are headed by 20 large monasteries. Each monastery has its own abbot and is autonomous within the republic.
After the first major monastery (Megisti Lavra) was founded in 963 by the Byzantine monk Athanasios of Athos, monks gradually settled on Mount Athos and founded other major monasteries. Among the 20 major monasteries that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage, 17 of them are Greek, one Serbian (Chilandar Monastery), one Bulgarian (Zografou Monastery) and one Russian Orthodox (Panteleímonos Monastery). In addition to the major monasteries, there are small monasteries, monastic villages and hermitages, all of which depend on your major monastery and do not have their own administration.
Since the 15th century, Russian grand dukes have been committed to Mount Athos. From the 19th century Russia took over the patronage and also in modern times the Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken over the patronage for the monastery of St. Pantaleon (Monastery of Panteleimonos).
Nowadays there is construction almost everywhere on Athos, there is hardly a large monastery that is not being renovated. The Grand Monastery of Panteleimonos celebrated its 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the first Russian monk in 2016 with the end of the renovation work. Even Vladimir Putin invested here and came by personally to see the magnificent building, which can accommodate almost 2000 pilgrims.
Unlike in today's western world, the Byzantine calendar still rules on Mount Athos. The new day begins at sunset (first hour).
The daily routine of the monks is easy to explain: pray, eat, work. The monks have returned to the coenobite lifestyle since the 1980s. A lifestyle that allows the propertyless monks to live together under one roof and separates them from the outside world with a wall. The monks are obliged to provide for their own livelihood. Be it through our own agriculture, viticulture, honey and candle production, wood carving, icon painting, calligraphy and much more. They don't actually do business, but maintain their lifestyle and with the profits from their work they provide food and shelter for the many pilgrims.
On the west side of Athos, near the coast, is the Great Monastery of St. Paul (Saint Paul's Monastery). According to tradition, this large monastery has existed since the 10th century. (or earlier) and was founded by the monk Pavlos Xiropotaminos.
North of the monastery, in front of Jovanitsa, there is the Monoxilitis area with an area of ??over 800ha and the monastery estate of St. Nicholas. According to the story, the name "Monoxilitis" comes from a hermit monk who built a fishing boat out of a single piece of wood (monoxilo). The Monoxilitis area with its unpolluted soil composition around the monastery estate is surrounded by pine forests, large botanical gardens, organic vineyards, olive groves and two natural sources of drinking water.
In 2016, the company EVLOYIA PCC (est. 2013) joined forces with the Great Monastery of St. Paul and took over the management of the monastery estate of St. Nikolaos in the Monoxilitis area. The goal of EVLOYIA PCC under the supervision of the American Farm School and in cooperation with the monks is the production and distribution of the products under the brand name "MONOXILITIS" In this way the monks are supported and they contribute to the preservation of the legacy of Mount Athos.
Their unique and high quality products are based on the rich tradition of Holy Mount Athos and the inspiration of the special way of life of the monks. All EVLOYIA PCC products bear the seal of the monastery. Only products that were actually made by the monks of the monastery in the monastery on Mount Athos are allowed to show this. We have the people behind EVLOYIA PCC. met us personally in Greece in May 2018 and inspired us by your great products.
We were overwhelmed by the candied chestnuts in honey, which were presented to us as an official gift from the monastery. Also very interesting are the ecclesiastical products (e.g. incense) that are ubiquitous in the Orthodox Church!
Back in Germany, our decision was made quickly - we don't want to withhold the products from them!
This is a small contribution from everyone, because we believe that this lifestyle of the monks, the flora and fauna and the autonomy of Holy Mount Athos must be preserved for the next 1000 years!