In the Shadow of the Mountain: Tracing the Hesychast Inhabitation of Mount Athos

  • Christos Kakalis


This chapter examines the role of silence and communal ritual in the experience of the southern part of Mount Athos, a semi-independent peninsula in north-eastern Greece in which a male monastic community is organized. Focus is on the desert of the peninsula, its mountainous end that rises into an actual mountain of 2033 metres in height. The mountain of Athos plays a key role in the life there, as it is connected to the scriptural event of Christ’s Transfiguration, which is annually commemorated through a communal ritual ascent to the peak on the sixth of August. Also, by exploring the way the mountainous environment of Athos opens an ideal field for the practice of hermits’ silence, the chapter examines how ascetic life influences the perception of the rigid natural landscape.


Ritual and ascetic experience of mountains Mount Athos Sacred landscape 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos Kakalis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArchitectureNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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