A Day in a Monk’s Life

A Day in a Monk's Life

Have you ever wondered how the monks on Mount Athos spend their days? They’re secluded from the secular world & spend their days praying, studying and working.

Have you ever wondered how the monks on Mount Athos spend their days? They’re secluded from the secular world & spend their days praying, studying and working.

Mount Athos: A Day in a Monk’s Life

When you visit Ouranoupolis for the summer or set sail for a short trip around Mount Athos, one thing comes to mind: how is the daily life of a Mount Athos monk? Confined within the sacred world of Mount Athos, the life of the monks hasn’t changed much since their predecessors first arrived in the 9th century AD.

They have chosen to live away from any temptation, but their lives are far from easy and mostly dedicated to praying.

The clocks on Mount Athos follow the Byzantine Time

A day in a monk’s life is devoted to praying, working, and resting. The interesting thing is that most monasteries on Mount Athos still reckon the hours of each day in accordance with the Byzantine Time and so time 0:00:00 starts at sunset.

That’s when the monks wake up to pray, confess their sins, and study. This cycle of reading, praying, confessing, and resting starts and finishes a monk’s day on Mount Athos.

The Mount Athos monks read, pray, and work

The monks on Mount Athos devote 8 hours for each: praying, working, and resting. The monks pray alone, and with the rest of the monks and visitors. They mostly pray from late at night till early morning since it’s quieter and thus they have more privacy.

There’s often a misunderstanding that the monks spend their day praying without working at all. And while they continue praying, the monks work very hard for many hours. They get instructions from the father superior and spend their days fishing, making wine, cleaning the guest rooms, preparing dinner, reconstructing parts of the monastery etc.

The days in a monk’s life are full of hard work, studying & praying

Their meals are modest, including fresh vegetables, water, and often fish and wine while most products are local. The monks eat without talking and often listen to another monk praying out loud. Of course, there is a number of monks who live entirely secluded and their spare rooms just hang over the sea.

That’s the last scenery one brings along their farewell trip when they hop on a sailing boat to return to the secular world.

 

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Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times. Its 20 monasteries scattered throughout the peninsula are popular pilgrimage sites. Yet, Mount Athos is unique in other ways, too. Take its splendid nature as a reference. It features hills, forests and the sea crashing against the mount's rocky base. In short, Mount Athos is a place unlike any other. Flora of Mount Athos Mount Athos has delightful nature, which is the reason for its "Garden of the Virgin Mary" epithet. There are many endemic plant species inhabiting the region because of many reasons. The uniqueness of the terrain and a variety of micro climates are a few of them. Kassandra and Sithonia, the nearby peninsulas, have the Mediterranean climate. Athos combines elements of the Mediterranean and Continental climates among some others. Due to the fact, you can find a wide variety of plants there. The olive tree, holm oak and the lentisk are some representatives of the Mediterranean vegetation. Some sub-continental species found in the area are the chestnut, fir and the pine. Even semi-desert plants inhabit the Holy Mountain, such as the arboreal euphorbia. And so on. Wildlife of Athos Since around 90% of Mount Athos's surface is untouched, there are many animal species inhabiting the region. While wandering around, you may find traces of various mammals and spot birds. Some mammals found on the Holy Mountain are jackals, red foxes, gray wolves, weasels and monk seals. The Garden of the Virgin Mary is also an excellent destination for birdwatching. Among other birds, you may see golden eagles, black storks, eagle owls, short-toed eagles and gulls. Landscapes of the Holy Mountain Pilgrims constitute the biggest part of Athos's visitors. Getting from one monastery to another is usually carried out on foot via stone-paved paths. Along the way, pilgrims traverse wooded areas with occasional clearings revealing magnificent landscapes. Fields and grooves encircle some monasteries, while others boast forested settings. Some of them are true islands in the sea of greenery.

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