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Legal Status of Mount Athos and Modern Challenges

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DOI: 10.23977/icpem.2019.041


Nataliya S. Semenova, Ekaterina V. Kiseleva, Aleksandr M. Solntsev

Corresponding Author

Nataliya S. Semenova


Holy Mountain Athos has a unique legal status, with self-government of twenty monasteries between which the entire Athos peninsula is divided, the state sovereignty of Greece over this territory and the canonical submission to the Constantinople Patriarchate. Such “trilateral” subordination leads to the fact that, on the one hand, the European Union, of which Greece is a member, is trying to encroach upon the unshakable thousand-year avaton rule. On the other hand, the anti-canonical actions of Patriarch Bartholomew led to the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church was forced to stop the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, to which the monasteries of Athos are canonically subordinated, including the Russian St. Panteleimon Monastery. Moreover, the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew are not related to internal church issues, but are the result of the policy pursued by Western states in Ukraine. The position of Athos, as the chief custodian of the purity of the Orthodox faith, was in the center of attention of the international community, since it was supposed, as it seemed, to separate politics from faith, and to set things straight. This would help to stop the mass persecution of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, which is comparable to the persecution of faith in the Soviet Union. However, at the moment, Athos found itself in a “political crisis”.


Athos, patriarchate of constantinople, russian orthodox church,discrimination against christians, schism, canons, human rights, freedom of conscience

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