Published: December 2009

Mount Athos

Mount Athos

Called to the Holy Mountain

The Monks of Mount Athos

By Robert Draper
Photograph by Travis Dove

The holy peninsula of Mount Athos reaches 31 miles out into the Aegean Sea like an appendage struggling to dislocate itself from the secular corpus of northeastern Greece. For the past thousand years or so, a community of Eastern Orthodox monks has dwelled here, purposefully removed from everything except God. They live only to become one with Jesus Christ. Their enclave—crashing waves, dense chestnut forests, the specter of snowy-veined Mount Athos, 6,670 feet high—is the very essence of isolation.

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