The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

© Copyright 1995- 2018 The Friends of Mount Athos. All rights reserved.

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The Society of the Friends of Mount Athos is dedicated to the study and promulgation of knowledge of the history, culture, arts, architecture, natural history, and literature of the Orthodox monasteries of Mount Athos, and to the promotion of the religious and other charitable work of the Holy Community and the monasteries, both those located on Mount Athos, and those elsewhere which are dependent or connected in some way with Mount Athos.

Welcome to the Friends of Mount Athos Online

Here persons interested in Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain and Garden of the Panagia, may find information about both Mount Athos itself and ways to participate in the activities of the Friends of Mount Athos in their mission of support for the Holy Community of Mount Athos.

WHAT IS HAPPENING.... (upcoming and ongoing events)

THE Mount Athos Foundation of America First Annual Travel Scholarships

The Mount Athos Foundation of America (MAFA), founded in 2017 by the American Membership of the Friends of Mount Athos, is pleased to announce two scholarships (travel bursaries) of up to $1000 each to support research projects related to Mount Athos. It is MAFA’s preference to issue one grant to a man and one to a woman, provided that there are viable applications appropriate to the purposes of MAFA from both men and women. Read on for details....

FOMA Launches a New Appeal

The Axion Estin Cell in its present condition
FoMA invites you to support its new appeal on behalf of the historic Axion Estin Cell on the Holy Mountain.
The Friends of Mount Athos have launched a new appeal for the urgently needed restoration of an important and historic cell on the Holy Mountain – the cell which carries the dedication “Axion Estin”....

Gouverneto Monastery, Chania, Crete
Pilgrimage for FoMA Members to the Monasteries of Western Crete: 20 - 28 October, 2018

Image: Gouverneto Monastery in the Akrotiri peninsula of Chania, in Western Crete.

FoMA Annual Autumn Meeting, St. Bride Foundation, off Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8EQ, 9 November, 2017

Speaker: Dr. Graham Speake, Co-founder and Chairman of the Friends of Mount Athos.

Dr. Speake will be speaking on the topic, “Athos and the West: A Chapter in the History of the Athonite Commonwealth” More...

Image: Archimandrite Sophrony (1896-1993) in the garden of his Essex monastery. ⓒ Monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, UK, all rights reserved.

FoMA Releases the 2017 Pilgrim's Guide

cell below Mount Athos .jpg
Image: A remote cell below Mount Athos.
Photograph by Graham Speake.
FoMA's 2017 Pilgrim's Guide is now available. This latest edition of the Pilgrim's Guide features several color images and an improved map designed for the Pilgrim's Guide by FoMA member and cartographer, Peter Howorth. For the first time, email addresses for monasteries are included for those monasteries participating in this new FoMA support for pilgrims. Pilgrims are advised to check with the Online Pilgrim's Guide for travel advisories, changing contact information for the monasteries, and other ongoing updates.

Copies may be ordered online or from the membership secretaries of the Friends of Mount Athos.


FoMA ANNOUNCES ITS ANNUAL SUMMER CONFERENCE: 10 June 2017 at St Anne’s College, Oxford

The Axion Estin cell, Mount Athos
Image: The Axion Estin cell, Mount Athos
FoMA's Annual Summer Conference to feature four speakers: Elder Porphyrios and Fr Philoumenos, of the Axion Estin cell on Mount Athos, who will speak respectively on monastic life and prayer at the Axion Estin Cell, and the cell’s history and its importance today, Ploutarchos Theocharides giving an illustrated talk entitled ‘Architecture on Athos – 10th to Early 17th Centuries’ and Deacon Nicholas Price talking about the 2016 pilgrimage to Cyprus.

2017 Pilgrimage to the Monastery of St John the Baptist Tolleshunt Knights, Essex:

2017 Tolleshunt Knights Image
Image: Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex
FoMA's 2017 Pilgrimage to the Monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, will take place on Saturday 1 July 2017.

2017 Pilgrimage to Northern Serbia: the Fruška Gora mountain, Serbia's "Athos"

2017 Tolleshunt Knights Image
Image: The Krušedol monastery on the Fruška Gora mountain,
courtesy of K. Svensson, Wikipedia Commons.
FoMA announces its 2017 pilgrimage to the monasteries of Fruška Gora near to the city of Novi Sad in the province of Vojvodina). The pilgrimage will take place on 21 to 29 October 2017. View the full announcement and booking form.

Vatopaidi Entrance Mural image
Read the news reports on our Athos News Page

Message to FoMA from Matthaios Vatopedinos:
The Abbot and all the other defendants in the land exchange case were declared innocent today by the Court of Appeals of the Supreme Court. Finally, after all these years of difficulty, especially for the Abbot! Glory to God for all things.
Image: Mural just inside the entrance gate of Vatopaidi, recently painted by FoMA member Markos Kampanis. Photograph by Graham Speake.



Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. Studies in Honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Edited by Andreas Andreopoulos and Graham Speake.

The proceedings of a conference held in honour of Metropolitan Kallistos’s 80th birthday at Madingley Hall, Cambridge, in 2015.
Order it from FoMA


Panteleimon Monastery, May, 2016.

Image: Restored Panteleimon Monastery, May, 2016

FoMA's Eighth Madingley Residential Conference, Mount Athos and Russia 1016 - 2016, celebrating 1000 years of Russian monastic presence on the Holy Mountain, will take place at Madingley Hall, Cambridge, 3-5 February 2017.


Sample image from the new map:
Mount Athos Pilgrim Map

The Friends of Mount Athos is very pleased to announce the publication of a new Mount Athos Pilgrim Map. The new map, available in several formats and scales, was developed by FoMA member and cartographer, Peter Howorth, in collaboration with members of FoMA's Footpaths Project. The map, coordinated with the FoMA footpath descriptions and GPX tracks, is being continuously updated with new data from FoMA's Footpaths Team, as some of these tracks have a way of changing from year to year. The result is a map of such accuracy and completeness as has never before existed for Mount Athos.

FoMA members may order the map at a special discount price. For further information, please see our Mount Athos Pilgrim Map page.

Hilandar Bell Tower Belfry
The Hilandar Appeal Phase Four Fully Funded: The Hilandar Bell Tower's Belfry

FoMA is pleased to announce that our Appeal for funds for emergency repairs to the belfry of the historic Bell Tower at Hilandar, known as the Kamban Pirg, is now fully funded. Our sincere thanks to all who contributed to this critically important project.

FoMA will soon be announcing here a new project or projects in the ongoing work of restoration at Hilandar following the disastrous 2004 fire.

Image: The Belfry of the Kamban Pirg, the ancient bell tower of Hilandar Monastery, whose roof, in danger of collapse, is now being repaired with funds from FoMA.

This year, for the first time, FoMA has produced professional-quality videos of the presentations at the Madingley Conference. We invite you to view them by following the links on our page for the Seventh Madingley Conference.

We urge FoMA members to have a look at our Links page which is being updated constantly. Especially at the latest new links:

  • Newly re-launched: Ascetic Experience, produced by a team of people associated with Vatopaidi Monastery. It is listed under "Weblogs & Blogs".
  • Website for the conference, Russian Athos (Kiev, at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, May 21-23, 2015), created to function as a portal of Russian monasticism on Mount Athos and dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of Russian monks on Mount Athos.
  • Website for The Orthodox Monastery of All Celtic Saints on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.
A link to our "Links" page is located at the bottom of every website page in the supplementary navigation bar located there.

FoMA Annual Autumn Meeting, St. Bride Foundation, London, 4 November, 2015

Speaker: Veronica della Dora, Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Prof. della Dora will be speaking on the topic, “A Pilgrim and Enlightener on the Holy Mountain: Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij’s Journeys to Mount Athos 1725-1744” More...

Image: Dochiariou Monastery, drawing by Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij (1701-1747). Produced in 1744, during his second visit to the Holy Mountain. Reproduced from Paul Mylonas, ed., Βασίλι Γκρηγκόροβιτς Μπάρσκι: τα ταξίδια του στο Άγιον Όρος 1725-1726 1744-1745, Agioritiki Estia, 2009.

Hermit Cave Inch Kenneth
FoMA Annual General Meeting, St. Anne's College, Oxford, 13 June, 2015

Please note program change; we invite you to see the explanation regarding events in Kosovo that has been added to the online announcement.

Speakers: Fr. Seraphim Hieromonk and Protos of the Orthodox Monastery of all Celtic Saints, Mull; Athanasios Papathanasiou, lecturer in theology at the Hellenic Open University and editor of the journal, Synaxi; Simon Jennings (speaking on last year's FoMA pilgrimage).

Fr. Seraphim will be speaking on the topic, “The silent uses of Monasticism: Athos, Bucovine and the Hebrides.”
Prof. Papathanasiou will be speaking on the topic, “Monastics as missionaries of a subversive hope.”

Image: Image: Hermit Cave, Inch Kenneth. Photograph from Fr. Seraphim's photo gallery, from his website,

FoMA photograph: Metropolitan Kallistos at 80.
Seventh Madingley Conference
A Symposium in Honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia: ‘Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth’, Madingley Hall, Cambridge, 6–8 February 2015

The presentations at the Madingley Conference may be viewed or downloaded by following the links to individual sessions in our on-line program for the Seventh Madingley Conference. You may also order videos of the complete proceedings on memory sticks.
Photograph of Hilandar in Flames
FoMA invites you to support its ongoing Hilandar Appeal

The Friends of Mount Athos have been raising funds for the relief and rebuilding of Hilandar Monastery following the catastrophic fire of March 4, 2004. Funds raised by the Friends of Mount Athos are contributed directly to the Monastery. Proceeds from the current (fourth) appeal are funding emergency repairs needed to the Monastery's Bell Tower.

Photograph of HRH Prince Charles
Announcement: His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, becomes the Royal Patron of the Friends of Mount Athos.
Image: Prince Charles meeting Archimandrite Methodios, Abbot of Hilandar, at Highgrove. His Royal Highness is also Patron of FoMA's Hilandar Appeal.

See our Events Page or visit us on Facebook for additional events, details about upcoming events, and information on our annual Autumn Meetings.

Header Image: View of the Holy Mountain from a balcony at Stavronikita Monastery, with elements of the katholikon in the foreground.
Photograph by Robert W. Allison, © 2008.