The Aegean Sea laps the shores of teh Holy Mountain of Athos, a self-governing monastic republic on a peninsula in Northern Greece. Twenty ruling monasteries comprise teh republic; one of those is the monastery of St Panteleimon, where services are conducted in Slavonic. It has become known as the Russian monastery on Mt Athos.
St Panteleimon's, fully restored in recent years, can accommodate up to 5,000 men, reflecting the scale of the settlement at its apogee in the nineteenth century, prior to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 it has experienced a strong revival and is now one of the most numerous of the Twenty. The vast buildings and its sketes and dependenceis seen today are really onoly a reflection of the history of the past two centuries.
In this first comprehensive account of the monastery in the English language, that stretches back more than one thousand years, Nicholas Fennell has drawn from previously inaccessible archival materials in gathering the wealth of information he shares in these pages.
The history of the community is seen to interact with the wider worlds of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and the modern nation state of Greece, together with that of a Russian homeland whose political character is constantly evolving. It covers the distinct phases in this history: From the tenth to the twelfth centuries when Russian Athonites inhabited the ancient Russian Lavra of the Mother of God, known as Xylourgou, through the six hundred years from teh mid-twelfth to the mid-eighteenth century, when the monastery of St Panteleimon was commonly referred to as Nagorny or Old Mountain Rusik; and into the most recent 250 years with their fluctuating fortunes and the questioning of its ethnic identity. Themes explored include the Pan-Orthodox ideal, the role of money and political pressure, sanctity and heroism in adversity, ethnic relations, and the importance of historical memory and precedent.
This text will be invaluable to academic historians, fascinating for lovers of history, and informative for pilgrims as well as the adventurous traveler. It is complemented by a timeline, glossary, bibliography, index, and full color photographs.
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