Mount Athos

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
Does the OO have any presence at the Mount Athos site??

Taylor

Comments

  • not that i am aware of.
  • Mt Athos is a strictly Eastern Orthodox province; you will not find any non-EO communities there at all, nor is that likely to ever be permitted in the first place.
  • As Iqbal said, Mount Athos is strictly EO. All the monasteries there are officially under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is EO.

    OO's may visit the Holy Mountain, but would not be permitted any form of permanent presence there.
  • Orthodox11, Acording to my understanding, OO people aren't even allowed to visit. Even Clergy. But my question kind of off topic is what is mount athos? What is so "holy" about it?
  • To My understanding mount athos is NOT HOLY there are a lot of monks that are against each other saying one is better than the others.
  • [quote author=PopeKyrillos link=topic=5557.msg74611#msg74611 date=1184907059]
    Orthodox11, Acording to my understanding, OO people aren't even allowed to visit. Even Clergy. But my question kind of off topic is what is mount athos? What is so "holy" about it?


    OOs, as well as Catholics and others may visit Mount Athos, although many of the monasteries there would probably not allow OOs to attend the Divine Liturgy since the two churches are still not in Communion with eachother.

    According to Holy Tradition, the holy Theotokos and St. John the Apostle, set sail from the Holy Land and through the Virgin's prayers to Her Son, the ship was directed to Mount Athos (this was in 52A.D.), which was at that time inhabited by pagan tribes.

    As the ship approached Athos, a statue Jupiter standing at the top of the Mountain fell and shattered to pieces, and when the blessed Virgin went ashore, other idols collapsed and shouts were heard saying "Men of Apollo, get ye all to Clemes harbor and welcome Mary, the Mother of the Great God Jesus!"

    The Virgin, seeing the beauty of the place, asked Her Son to give Her the Mountain, A voice was heard from heaven saying, "Let this place be thine inheritance and garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved."

    About a thousand years later, a strong monastic presence was established in this place of the Virgin, and remains to this day. The entire penninsula is inhabited only by monks, and it is filled with several great monasteries, sketes and hermits caves. Athos has even been granted independance from the Greek government, so the entire region is run by the monks themselves with no secular influence.

    It has produced countless saints and holy men - in the 20th century people like St. Silouan, Fr. Sophrony Sakharov, Elder Paisios (Bishoy), etc. - and continues to do so.


    To My understanding mount athos is NOT HOLY there are a lot of monks that are against each other saying one is better than the others.

    There is a minority of monks who have chosen not to commemorate the Patriarch of Constantinople during the Liturgy because they feel he has acted inappropriately - mainly in respect to ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church - and this has caused some tention. But it has done little at all to detract from the holiness of the place.
  • i think that OOs can visit mount Athos but i think that they will not be welcomed there ... i heared from a priest who lived about 12 years in Greece that the monks there are sooooo radical and embrace a very fanatic point of view when it comes to the OO church and are against any dialogue between the 2 churches....
      :-[
  • [quote author=smile4ever link=topic=5557.msg76393#msg76393 date=1188762077]
    i think that OOs can visit mount Athos but i think that they will not be welcomed there ...


    The canons of the Church state very clearly that praying with those who are excommunicated warrants excommunication. Therefore, an OO (or any other person not in Communion with the EO) would not be permitted to participate in the services, since this would be a breach of Church canons.

    This is not a hatred or disdain for OO or anyone else, it is quite simply faithful adherance to the teachings of the Church.


    i heared from a priest who lived about 12 years in Greece that the monks there are sooooo radical and embrace a very fanatic point of view when it comes to the OO church and are against any dialogue between the 2 churches....
      :-[

    The monks of Athos have never, as far as I am aware, opposed dialogue between the two churches. What they have opposed are the various attitudes present among those conducting such dialogues.

    As far as the Athonite monks are concerned, the fact that we are not in Communion means that either the EO or OO are in a state of schism (a common sense approach in line with a traditional understanding of ecclesiology). Obviously they are not going to say it is the EO who are in schism (if they believed that, they would have converted).

    Since they view the OO as being schismatics, they reject any notion of EO and OO being two families of the same Orthodox Church. They furthermore reject any reunion that does not involve the OO recognising that they were in schism. They will not accept a reunion based on the premise that both were right all along - such a view is doctrinally warranted, but does creates problems viz. ecclesiology.

    There is also an importance placed on the anathemas issued by what they see as being Ecumenical Councils, as well as the statements made by much beloved EO Fathers, such as St John of Damascus, St. Saava and the other holy men of Palestine, etc.

    While one can disagree with their stance on a number of these issues, one cannot claim that they are "against any dialogue between the 2 churches" at all. I furthermore think it's incorrect to label their (perhaps misguided) views as arrogant, fanatical, prideful, hateful, etc. when they clearly (at least in my opinion, having met several Athonites) stem from a genuine concern for Truth and love for God and His Church.
  • I heard from H.G. Bishop David before that some of the Coptic orthodox bishops went there and the monks living there wouldn't even let them in.
  • The monks of Athos have never, as far as I am aware, opposed dialogue between the two churches.

    It depends on how you define dialogue. The kind of "dialogue" they would endorse is no real dialogue at all, but more akin to monologue: one party sets out the conditions for the other party, which are not up for dispute or question, hence the other party uncritically accepts those conditions, apologises and repents.

    Mt Athos advocates an, "Our Fathers and Councils said this, thus you must accept without question" approach. This is not an approach that promotes dialogue, and given that we do not accept EO Fathers and Councils as authoritative, it is furthermore an approach tainted with circular reasoning. Their expectations are ludicrous, for they in effect expect a fideistic kind of response from non-EO's.

  • [quote author=Zakhary link=topic=5557.msg76399#msg76399 date=1188773890]
    I heard from H.G. Bishop David before that some of the Coptic orthodox bishops went there and the monks living there wouldn't even let them in.



    That's what i thought they did. If they don't let us in their monasteries, why do they come to ours?
  • Dear Orthodox11,

    I have the deepest respect for you and the very highest regard for what you say, but it is hard to see any meaning beyond a purely semantic one in stating that the Athonite Monks are not against dialogue given their reading of their own ecclesiology.

    What would be the purpose of such a dialogue? Presumably they hope to convert the schismatics? That is not what most of us would call a dialogue, is it?

    I have no problem with an ecclesiology that says that the EO is the Church; I profoundly disagree with it, of course, but recognise it is sincerely held.

    The fact that the Athonite Monks appear to object to the results of every dialogue, makes me wonder what form of ecumenism they would approve of? I respect their position, but to many others it looks narrow, particularist and bigoted; to say that it is in accordance with the canons of the Church may be true, but those canons may also appear to have these characteristics to those who fail to accept the Athonite ecclesiology.

    What really puzzles me is who speaks authoritatively for the EOs on this one? The ecclesiology is exactly the same as that of the Roman Catholics, and if I want to see what they think, I can look at the recent very reasonable CDF document and know the Pope speaks for them. If I want to know what the Coptic view is I can look at what the Synod and the Pope say; who speaks with authority for the EO?

    We both know of Athonite proclamations which are frankly insulting to the EP; is there an actual definitive EO statement on ecclesiology? I ask because the views of +Kallistos and those of the Athonite Monks seem miles apart - and yet both are bound by these canons.

    I don't doubt their sincerity - just the possibility of having a dialogue with people who think you are a Monophysite and, when you ask for proof, tell you that that is what their Church says. After all, when you are a Copt and know you are not a Monophysite, you start off knowing that on at least one crucial point, the EO view is just plain wrong. Of course, not all EOs hold such a view - but that in itself begs the question about an authoritative EO view.

    Again, I have no problem being told that according to EO ecclesiology I am a Monophysite schismatic; but I do have difficulty being told that whilst some EOs hold that, others do not quite agree. Who speaks for the EO on this?

    In Christ,

    Anglian
  • [quote author=CopticChica21 link=topic=5557.msg76497#msg76497 date=1189028984]
    Pope Kyrollos, they come to ours for spiritual enlightment.. We should be inviting them in even if they don't invite us because they can teach us something and we can help them to understand more about God and with that, we can be preaching and worshipping the name of God... God said we must preach to people. They come to the monastery to find out about us... We should invite them, not neglect them and say no.


    i have no problem with them coming to our monasteries. However, my abouna says that they consider us their enemies. So with that being said, why do they come to us. Again, i have no problem with that.
  • Dear PopeKyrillos,

    I guess the answer to why we receive them but not vice versa is that we remember His injunction to love even those who hate us; they obviously consider the canons of their Church as having greater weight than that command.

    In Christ,

    Anglian
  • [quote author=Anglian link=topic=5557.msg76501#msg76501 date=1189030339]
    If I want to know what the Coptic view is I can look at what the Synod and the Pope say; who speaks with authority for the EO?

    "Coptic" and "EO" are not equivalents. The former refers to a local church, the second to an entire communion.

    A statement made by H.H. Pope Shenouda III or the Synod of the Coptic Church would give the current view of the OO Patriarchate of Alexandria, but not that of the entire OO Church.

    Likewise, if you wanted the view of the EO Patriarchate of Alexandria, you'd consult her Holy Synod and H.B. Pope Theodoros II. However, if you're looking for the "EO view" of ecumenism in general (or the OO in particular), you're not going to find it since no pan-Orthodox council has been held in order to discuss such an issue.


    I would also say that the current dispute over ecumenism is not so much a dispute over what constitutes Orthodox ecclesiology as whether or not this Orthodox ecclesiology is compromised by ecumenism.

    For example, the view that the EO and OO are two churches, not one, I think is pretty much universal among EO, including myself. On the OO side, I'm sure Iqbal and many other posters here would also agree to this position.

    Whether or not one decides to refrain from using the term "schism" is an issue of semantics I don't find particularly important provided one is aware of the reality of the situation.


    That being said, the nature of this schism/separation/excommunication between the EO-OO is very different from that of any other church, and it seems to me difficult to be black-and-white and simultaneously avoid inconsistensies. It is a situation where the teachings of the Church and the actions of the Church are somewhat difficult to reconcile, and for this reason opinion may vary greatly.
  • Dear Orthodox11,

    All of what you say I agree with, but none of it explains the differences in attitude which were mentioned previously. One can maintain one's ecclesiology without giving needless offence or appearing to be exclusivist - as the behaviour of the Coptic monks demonstrates. They have, as you imply, the same ecclesiology - but they express it in a way that shows true caritas.  Too often, ecclesiology is the excuse for behaviour which gives offence.

    As Christians we have some obligation to behave in a manner that does not cause scandal or throw a bad light on our faith; can anyone argue that some of the behaviour of some of the Athonite communities fulfils this obligation.

    Iqbal is surely correct in his categorisation of the Athonite definition of 'dialogue'. Anyone who sees a single homogeneous entity called 'ecumenism' and thinks it a 'heresy' is simply replicating sad old stereotypes; where is the spirit of love and renewal we find in the Gospel?

    In Christ.

    Anglian
  • edited February 6
    Here are the words of one famous "Heretic" who was a "Believer" in the "Grand heresy of ecumenism". Do you recall who was that "Heretic" (Capitalization intended!!)

    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who
    will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father,
    just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world
    may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave
    me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they
    may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and
    have loved them even as you have loved me."
  • Mount Athos is a place with peace and is the true place for pray.I know Aethiopian Orthodox Christian who he go to mount Athos.

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