The cradle of the cradles. Russian monasticism on Mount Athos for 1000 years

2016-the year — generally for special relations between Russia and Greece: it is declared cross year of two countries, planned and already hosts dozens of events in various fields of cooperation between our States. In this busy schedule of official and informal visits, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, business meetings stand out events of the religious — because the spiritual affinity of the two fraternal Orthodox peoples, perhaps, connects us all stronger. And mount Athos Russian Orthodox people — the place is truly Holy.

“We have very strong ties with Russia, — says the Director of the Centre of mount Athos Anastasios Duro. — Our center is engaged in research and presenting monastic tradition, historical and cultural contribution, as well as the spiritual heritage of this Holy monastery. Pilgrims, explorers, journalists from Russia — our frequent guests. It was on mount Athos translated from the Greek into the Russian language of many Church books. And we celebrate that in your country of interest to the Holy Mount Athos does not subside”.

Where in Moscow it is possible to venerate the relics of Saint Silouan the Athonite?
For the first time the presence of Russian monks on mount Athos was officially registered in 1016: one of the documents among the 22 signatures of the abbots appeared, and the signature of a certain Gerasim, monk, presbyter and Abbot of the Russian monastery, which was called Ksilurgu. But it is believed that the Russian pilgrims to mount Athos appeared before the baptism of Rus. Athos is called the cradle of Russian monasticism — hence it was made of multiple monastic customs, regulations, traditions.

Now on mount Athos there are 20 monasteries, Serbian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek), the chief of which is the Great Lavra, founded in 963 year of Saint Athanasius the Athonite. Russian community devoted to the Holy Panteleimonov the monastery. His ascetic and was St. Silouan of Athos, whose relics first left the monastery, that they might worship the faithful in Russia. The future Saint had settled in the monastery of St Panteleimon in 1892, four years was tonsured, and in 1911 became a schemamonk with the name Silvanus, and had the obedience of monastic economy. Before the icon of the Savior himself appeared to him Jesus Christ, and this miraculous image is also the first time brought to Russia together with the relics of the monk.

The relics of St. Silouan in the temple of the Holy great Martyr Nikita on Swivel hill in Moscow. Photo: RIA Novosti/ Sergey Pyatakov

On Athos live about 3 thousand monks. Each monastery has delegated its representative to the Holy Kinot, which manages the monastic Republic. Daily basis the Holy Mountain is visited by 500 people. Women here are not allowed — they can only see Athos from a distance, from a boat. In addition, it is forbidden to visit mount Athos and children of preschool age. Each guest needs to obtain a special permit visa called diamonitirion. Foreigners order it should be at least six months before the trip.

Who is Saint Silouan the Athonite?
Athos, who had an enormous influence on the development of Christian art has a unique treasure. Abode with more than a thousand years of history cherishes the ancient manuscripts, books, murals. The most famous shrines are the particles of the true cross, the gifts of the Magi brought to Jesus Christ, crucifixion nail, part of the crown of thorns and the shroud of Jesus Christ, the venerable Belt of the Theotokos and the relics of many great saints. Among the treasures of the monastery of St. Panteleimon — library, which holds more than 20 thousand books and manuscripts, the foot of St. Andrew, the honourable head of St. Luke, relics of John the Baptist, several of the apostles, the miraculous icon.

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