(31 Dec. 2005).


Greek is commonly used in all Greek monasteries, but in some monasteries there are other languages in use, in St Panteleimonos Russian (35 monks), in Iviron Georgian (53 monks), in Chilandari Serbian (46), in Zographou Bulgarian (15), and in the sketae of Prodromos and Lacu Romanian (64). Today, many of the Greek monks are better educated and can speak English.

Contemplated postage stamp issue

In the winter of 1915 - 1916 the allied forces were considering occupation of the holy mountain. In anticipation of this they prepared a set of stamps which were intended for issue on the 25 January 1916 for the use of the Governing body of the Monastic Republic.

These stamps were produced in sheets of 12, (3 rows of 4), on board the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Six values were produced with values ranging up to one shilling and all were printed in black but on various different paper types.

The design of these stamps consisted of a square border with the name MOUNT ATHOS at the bottom in English, the left in Russian and on the right in Greek. At the top was in inscribed THEOCRACY. The denomination appeared at each corner with the English in the lower corners, Greek in the top left and Russian in the top right. The inner section showed a double headed Byzantine eagle with the effigy of the Madonna and child in an oval on its breast.

These stamps have no official status but fall into the category of prepared for use but not issued.

Two points of interest arise with these stamps:

Firstly they are the only issue to bear the currency and alphabets of three different languages.

Secondly they are the only issue to be produced on a warship in a time of war.

Art Treasures

The Athonian monasteries possess huge deposits of invaluable medieval art treasures, including icons, liturgical vestments and objects (crosses, chalices), codices and other Christian texts, imperial chrysobulls, holy relics etc. Until recently no organized study and archiving was being carried out, but lately a European union-funded effort to catalogue, protect and restore them is under way.


ISBN 0-85955-251-9 by Ralph H. Brewster. A guide to the peninsula, first published in 1935, detailing the landscape, monasteries, skites, and the life of the inhabitants, including customs and more not usually discussed.

Monastery 1903 1959 1968 1978 1988 1992 2000
  • Robert Byron, ,Phoenix Press; New Ed edition (June 30, 2001) ISBN: 1842122088
  • Images of Athos

World Heritage Sites in Greece

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