Encounters on the Holy Mountain: Stories from Mount Athos

An affectionate testament to Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain, after 30 years of activity of the Friends of Mount Athos.

Home of Orthodox Spirituality and Monasticism

Mount Athos, the home of Orthodox spirituality and monasticism, has been in existence for at least 1200 years. Home to over 2,000 monks, in twenty glorious monasteries filled with treasures, the peninsula is undergoing a transformation and renewal of faith.

In 1956 there was a proposal to build hotels on Mount Athos. Today it hosts up to 1,000 pilgrims every day! Why? This book will help explain this extraordinary place, the current resurgence, the growing population of monks, the sense of purpose, the love and affection that are so much part of the environment.

This wonderful story, with a preface by HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is told through the recollections of the Friends of Mount Athos, an organisation that has, for thirty years, provided support for the institutions, landscape and people. Here are the stories of enchantment from over forty people of different nationalities, customs and beliefs.

In addition to the text, there are a collection of special photographs and a map.

Friends of Mount Athos

Peter Howorth and Chris Thomas are long time members of the Friends of Mount Athos and veterans of multiple path-clearing pilgrimages to the Holy Mountain which is how they met. Despite living on opposite sides of the planet, their mutual passion for the planet, geography, pilgrimage and of course Mount Athos has underpinned their collaboration.

Peter produces maps of the Holy Mountain that have sold to over 44 countries, and this work has fuelled his love for the place and the men. He is an engineer, and had a career managing major projects internationally, and started drawing maps when invited to help with the republication of ‘Dare to be Free’ – a WW2 memoir that involved the Holy Mountain. He is a Fellow of Royal Geographical Society.

Chris Thomas is the managing director of a successful sports technology business. He is a trustee of the Friends of Mount Athos, a member of Mensa, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and, like Peter, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is the proud father of three adult children, he loves Arsenal FC and football in general and is proud to have coined the slogan for EURO 96: ‘Football Comes Home’, which has since become part of common parlance.


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