(i) Brief history of monasticism on the holy mountain
Monasticism on the Holy Mountain starts in the 5th century in the form of single ascetics or small groups who lived in its quiet places and exists in parallel with the lay life which continues until the 8th century.
In the first decades of the 9th century, the Holy Mountain Monasticism enters a new phase, which is partly documented in written sources. The Mount forms its special monastic character, it has borders, and self-governing based at Karies, where a Lavra is created and call the Great Middle, at around 940 A.D. There is based the First of the Holy Mount, and his seat is called the «Protaton».
In the 9th century in the Holy Mount, there lived two great characters: St Peter the Athonite, who is arrives to Athos at the ends of the 8th century, and St Euthemios the New, who founded a Lavra in the Holy Mount around 860 A.D.
In 963 A.D. a «new rhythm is given to the Monastic Life with the foundation of the first Great Coenobium of the Holy Monastery of the Greatest Lavra of St Athanasios», which is assisted financially and ethically by the wondrous Byzantine Emperor Nicephoros Phokas, friend and spiritual child of St Athanasios.
The official organisation of the Monastic Life in the Holy Mount starts from the publication of the Typikon of the Byzantine Emperor John Tsimiskes in 972 A.D.
In the centuries, the Byzantine republic and the Patriarchate, in continuation to the attempt to spread Christianity to the neighbouring nations of the empire, allowed monks from other nations to live in the Holy Mounts, and especially Georgians, Slavs, and Romanians, in order to live deeper the meaning and the contents of Orthodoxy, and to plant it later on to their nations.
Today the Holy Mount is governed according to the Constitutional Map of the Holy Mount, which was voted by the Extra-ordinary Double Holy Gathering and was confirmed by a law of the Greek state on the 10th September 1926, and clothed with constitutional authority (article 109 of the Constitution of the Greek state).
(ii). State governing authorities of Mount Athos.
1. Government: Political governor: Mr George Dalakouras, tel. 23770-23.230, 23.314. Substitute governor: Mr Aristos Kasmiroglou. Address: 630 86 Karyai, Holy Mount. Telephones (23770) 23.230, 23.314 and 23.290. At Karyai: Police: 23.212. Tel of police officer: 23.260. Post office: 23.214. Doctor: 23.217. Telephone company: 23.399. At Daphne: Police: 23.222. Sea police: 23.300. Customs: 23.269. Post office 23.297.
(iii) Monastic governing authorities of Mount Athos.
The Ecclesiastical Government, according to the Constitutional Map of Mount Athos is exhorted by:
a. The Holy Community
This is based at Karyai and is comprised from 20 representatives of the twenty monasteries of Mount Athos, which are elected each year by their own Holy Monasteries for the duration of one year, and are replaced at the beginning of each year. To the Holy Community belongs the Temple of the «Protaton», which is honoured at the name of the Dormition of the Theotokos, and which is beautified by the wall paintings of Panselenos, which were depicted in 1290.
b. The Holy Epistasia.
This is responsible for the administration of Mount Athos. The twenty Holy Monasteries are split into five quadruples, each of which forms one year every five, the Holy Epistasia.
1st GROUP: Lavra, Docheiariou, Xenophontos, Esphigmenou.
2nd GROUP: Vatopediou, Koutloumousiou, Karalalou, Stavronikita.
3rd GROUP: Iviron, Pantocratoros, Filotheou, Simonos Petras
4th GROUP: Hilandar, Xeropotamou, St Paul, St Gregory.
5th GROUP: St Dionysios, Zographou, St Panteleimon, Constamonitou.
The first in order of each group holds the title «Protepistatis», is the President of the Holy Epistasia, and holds the Staff of the Primate.
Members of the Holy Epistasia during the year 2005-2006 are the: Protepistates: Elder Paul Monk, Holy Monastery of the Greatest Lavra,
Epistatæ: Elder Theoktistos Monk, Holy Monastery of Docheiariou, Elder Silouan Monk, Holy Monastery of Xenophontos, and Elder Gabriel Hieromonk, Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou.
Telephones of the Epistasia: (23770) Protepistates: 23.221. Epistatæ: 23.711, 23.712, 23.713.
Secretary: Archsecretary: Hieromonk John, Holy Calybe of St Apostles-Patriarch of the Monastery of the Greatest Lavra Scete of St Anna.
Subsecretaries: Monk Prodromos, Holy Monastery of Gregoriou, Monk Prodromos, Holy Cell of St John the Baptist Fournas, Monastery of Koutloumous, and Nikolaos Triantaphyllou.
Telephones: (prefix 23770) Archsecretary: 23.710, Subsecretary: 23.224. fax: 23.315.
(iv) The Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monasteries of the Holy Mount
1. GREATEST LAVRA, founded in 963, Coenobiac, feast: St Athanasios the Athonite, July 5th. Abbot: Archm. Prodromos. Tel. 22.586, 23.760. fax: 23.761-2. Representation: 23.277.
2. VATOPEDION, founded in 972, Coenobiac, feast: Annunciation, March 25th. Abbot: Archm. Ephraim. Tel. 23.219. fax: 23.781. Representation: 23.283.
3. IVIRON, founded in 972, Coenobiac, feast: Dormition of the Theotokos, August 15th. Abbot: Archm. Nathaniel. Tel. 23.643, fax: 23.248. Representation: 23.203.
4. HILANDAR, founded in 1197, Coenobiac, feast: Entrance of Theotokos, November 21st. Abbot: Archm. Moses. Tel. 23.797. Fax: 23.108. Representation: 23.281.
5. DIONYSIOU, founded in 1375, Coenobiac, feast: Nativity of Forerunner, June 24th. Abbot: Archm. Peter. Tel. 23.687, fax: 23.686. Representation: 23.678-8.
6. KOUTLOUMOUSIOU, founded: end of 13th century, Coenobiac, feast: Transfiguration, August 6th. Abbot: Archm. Christodoulos. Tel. 23.226. Fax: 23.731.
7. PANTOCRATOR, founded in 1363, Coenobiac, feast: Transfiguration, August 6th. Abbot: Archm. Gabriel. Tel. 23.253. fax: 23.685. Representation: 23.207.
8. XEROPOTAMOU, founded in 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: Holy 40 Martyrs, March 9th; Elevation of the Cross, September 14th. Abbot: Archm. Joseph. Tel. 23.251. fax: 23.733. Representation: 23.280.
9. ZOGRAPHOU, founded: about 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: St George, April 23rd. Abbot: Archm. Ambrose. Tel. 23.247. Representation: 23.273.
10. DOCHEIARIOU, founded: 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: Archangels, November 8th; Panagia Gorgoypekoos, October 1st. Abbot: Archm. Gregory. Tel. 23.245. Representation: 23.271.
11. KARAKALOU, founded: end of 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: Ss Peter and Paul, June 29th. Abbot: Archm. Philotheos. Tel. 23.225. fax: 23.746. Representation: 23.279.
12. FILOTHEOU, founded: 990, Coenobiac, feast: Annunciation, March 25th; St Kosmas of Ætolia, August 24th. Abbot: Archm. Nikodemos. Tel. 23.256. fax: 23.674. Representation: 23.206.
13. SIMONOS PETRAS, founded: 1257, Coenobiac, feast: Christmas, December 25th; St Mary Magdalene, July 22nd. Abbot: Archm. Elissaios. Tel. 23.254, 23.700. fax: 23.707. Representation: 23.204.
14. SAINT PAUL, founded: 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: Meeting of the Lord, February 2nd; St Paul of Xeropotamos, July 28th. Abbot: Archm. Parthenios. Tel. 23.250, 23.609. fax: 23.355. Representation: 23.208.
15. STAVRONIKITA, founded: 1541, Coenobiac, feast: St Nicholas, December 6th. Abbot: Archm. Tychon. Tel. 23.255, fax: 23.255. Representation: 23.270.
16. XENOPHONTOS, founded: 11th century, Coenobiac, feast: St George, April 23rd. Abbot: Archm. Alexios. Tel. 23.249. fax: 23.631. Representation: 23.205.
17. GREGORIOU, founded: 1310, Coenobiac, feast: St Nicholas, December 6th. Abbot: Archm. George. Tel. 23.218, 23.669, 23.670. fax: 23.671. Representation: 23.274.
18. ESPHIGMENOU, founded: 11th century, Coenobiac, feast: Ascension of the Lord. Abbot: Archm. Chysostomos. (The brotherhood of the Holy Monastery resides, for the time being, at Karyai). Tel. 23.229. fax: 23.653.
19. SAINT PANTELEIMON, founded: beginning 10th century., Coenobiac, feast: St Panteleimon, July 27th. Abbot: Archm. Jeremias. Tel. 23.252. Representation: 23.201.
20. CONSTAMONITOU, founded: beginning 10th century, Coenobiac, feast: St Stephen, December 27th. Abbot: Archm. Agathon. Tel. 23.228. Representation: 23.278.
Total number of monks in the Holy Mount in the Monasteries and Ascetics, approximately 1.500.
(v) The Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy
This was founded in 1749 by the brethren of the Monastery of Vatopedion and in its region, as a «School of Greek lessons, education and teaching of all sort, in logical, philosophical and theological sciences». In 1753, the wise Eugenios Voulgaris was appointed as «teacher», during the period of which the School reached its maximum peak. After his resignation in 1757, the School became less good. In 1813, the School was moved to Karyai, and having stopped functioning, it continued its operation from the year 1953-1954 at Karyai.
Acting Scholarch: Mr Diogenes Giakatos, tel. 23.220.
Bishop in the Holy Mount: His Grace Chysostomos of Rhodostolou (22. 04.1978). Address: Holy Monastery of Greatest Lavra, 630 86 Karyai.
(vi) Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Metochion of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Ormylia of Halkidiki.
This is a Metochion of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras. Address: 630 71 Ormylia Halkidiki. Abbess: Nun Nikodeme. Nuns: 107. Trainees: 20. Economos of the Holy Metochion: Hieromonk Serapion. Tel. 23710-41.278.