The sacred status of Greece

Status_of_Greece

Greece – the only European country where the church is not separated from the state. Greeks themselves – devout people. About 70% – believers and church authority here – a significant part of public life. Historically, the church performed the core of the nation during the grave 600 years of Turkish rule. Interesting fact: the Greek clergy have the status of civil servants and receive salary from the state.

HOLY MOUNTAIN – ATHOS Flight Kiev –Saloniki held as usual: a group of compatriots devastated bought up in duty-free bottle of brandy and whiskey. Alas, the convergence of the land of ancient Greece was accompanied by uncontrolled movement of the overweight passenger who has found only an island of tranquility in the passport control area, and then with the help of a security officer. After a minute procedure my passport stamped and outside the airport have others.

Sober. Sounds of Motherland “I myself will go – do not hold me” in the remaining scattered behind the airport of Thessaloniki. It’s time to tune in to a different rhythm. Our hotel is located on the first “finger” of Halkidiki – Sithonia. On the way to the bus shuttle visitors scored on the first “finger” – Cassandra Peninsula, more flat and not as beautiful as Sithonia, the coast of which is secluded rocky coves with clear turquoise waters. Kassandra is considered youth resort – a cheerful, noisy, with many discos and entertainment. And as the second capital of Greece – Thessaloniki – close, an hour’s drive. Sithonia, on the contrary, – a quiet cozy place, ideal for a family or a romantic holiday.

The third and last “finger” of Halkidiki – Athos. Map before him within reach, but the car will have to overcome the serpentine areas along the coast of the Aegean Sea. The closer you approach to the peninsula, the more moves away from the bustle of the secular. Life gradually fades, cars and people getting very little. Road abuts the village of Ouranoupoli. Next – border cordon not pass and do not pass. Here begin the monastic state of Mount Athos possession. Geographically it is a part of Greece, but has a special status. In religious matters, subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, but has administrative independence from him.

They say, she takes care of Our Lady of these places. And the other women on its territory are not admitted for the past centuries. They say that the daughter of the Emperor Theodosius the Great Princess Placidus in Article IV-V. I wanted to visit the monastery of Vatopedi, but did not let her into the stern voice coming from the Mother of God. “Letters from the Holy Mountain” (1885) lead these words: “Why are you here? Here, monks, and you’re a woman. Why do you give the enemy a case advocate their criminal thoughts? Not a step further! Depart, if you want to imagine the good! “. Stunned princess obeyed, and in memory of this event, ordered to build a temple of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios.

The monks expanded the outright ban of Our Lady – on Mount Athos are not found animals even feminine. It is alleged that on the peninsula do not build nests and lay eggs wild birds. However, there are bred chickens. Their eggs are used as the most reliable material iconography. Forbidden entry as “beardless boys, the kind that may remind the woman and bring down the devout people with righteous thoughts.” As a tour guide told us Dimitris Popandopulos, women violated the ban threatens conclusion from 8 to 12 months in prison Carey town, the capital of Mount Athos and the seat of the Holy Kinot.

The village Ouranoupoli – one of the stops on the route of our tour around Mount Athos. The village of Bay St. washes. Locals call their bay so because it was here from the mountains, where streams of monks praying, holy water flows. If we, the ordinary tourists, ends in Ouranoupolis their journey, the pilgrims begin it here. These vehicles get to Ouranoupoli, spend the night in local otelchik the morning continue their journey to the Holy Mountain by ferry – the port of Daphne, the only entrance to Mount Athos. The peninsula is 20 monasteries, of which during a walk on the ship along the coast, you can see only 8. Another 8 are located on the other side, and 4 – in the depths of the peninsula. By the coast monastic state can not swim closer than 500-800 meters.

Exception – special pilgrimage tours, but the peninsula can not visit more than 300 pilgrims a day. They are given special permits, which need to bother about in advance. By the way, on Mount Athos monasteries are not only – there is a hermitage (small settlement of hermits) and cells – more secluded detached hut. Soaring Meteor Less well-known in Ukraine, the second monastic center in Greece – Holy Meteora rock as if floating in the air, monasteries (“meteoros” and translated as “floating in the air”).

From what he saw breath away. This wonder of the world! All the question arises: how in the Middle Ages people without modern technology could be built in inaccessible places, these temples?

Stories of the guide beams, winches, lifting materials look like something unconvincing, although other options and was not. It is hard to imagine such a large-scale construction on the cliffs the height of about 600 meters above sea level and about 400 meters – at the bottom of the town of Kalambaka. Construction monks brought in networks and himself raised in bags. “Shuttle” message to the world of the monasteries preserved until now. Despite the fact that there are already broken into the rock stairs, the monks use their own cable car. Some monasteries of the desert turned into a museum, which part of the day open to the public.

Entrance fee – EUR2, half of the collection is the church, the other – to the state. The first settlements in the desert cliffs Thessaly appeared before the tenth century. The caves in which monks lived, survived to the present day. And actually the beginning of the construction of churches, like Mount Athos, the monk put Athanasius, who fled here from the Holy Mountain from the invasion of corsairs in 1334, and brought together 14 associates in the district. By the sixteenth century art. then formed a large monastic community – in fact, a religious state with its charter, which laid the foundations of even Athanasius.

Then were 24 monasteries – only now 6. guide tells us that communicated with the monks of Mount Athos and Meteora. According to them, those who want real privacy, go to the unknown monasteries in the center of the country, where you do not get the crowds of tourists and pilgrims. The fact that well-known centers of monastic life, despite the restrictions imposed, forced to take an endless stream of pilgrims actually serving them. It takes a lot of time, and such worries violate the right rhythm of life of hermits.

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