The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

© Copyright 1995- 2019 The Friends of Mount Athos. All rights reserved.

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Among the objectives of the Friends of Mount Athos are

In keeping with those objects, the society produces publications, arranges lectures, and organizes conferences, pilgrimages, and exhibitions devoted to Athonite themes. It also supports other organizations by promoting events consonant with its own charter and the interests of its members.

Notices of Upcoming FoMA Events

Ninth Madingley Conference 1-3 March 2019

talanto image
The Life of Prayer on Mount Athos — 2019

Our Ninth Madingley Conference will explore all dimensions of the mystery of prayer, beginning with the deceptively simple question ‘what is prayer?’ For full information including abstracts of presentations and booking information, view the preliminary program..

Image: "To talanto, to talanto, to ta to ta to talanto." The rhymical striking of the wooden talanto summons the monks to prayer. From Graham Speake, Mount Athos Renewal in Paradise, Monks at Prayer, plate 55"

2018 Pilgrimage to the Monasteries of Western Crete

Gouverneto Monastery, Chania, Crete
The Society is now organizing its fifteenth excursion, this time a pilgrimage to the monasteries of Western Crete. The event will be for nine days (including travel) from Saturday 20 October till Sunday 28 October 2018. View the full announcement and instructions for those interested in participating..

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

FoMA Annual Autumn Meeting, 9 November, 2017, at the St. Bride Foundation, London,

2017 AUTUMN MEETING PICTURE: Archimandrite Sophrony (1896-1993)
FoMA's Annual Fall Meeting will take place on Thursday, 9 November 2017, at the St. Bride Foundation, off FleetStreet, London, EC4Y 8EQ. Dr. Graham Speake, Co-founder and Chairman of the Friends of Mount Athos. 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 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.
The Society is now organizing its fourteenth excursion, this time a pilgrimage to Northern Serbia (specifically the area of Fruška Gora near to the city of Novi Sad in the province of Vojvodina). The event will be for nine days (including travel) from Saturday 21 October till Sunday 29 October 2017. View the full announcement and booking form.

Recent Events

File source:
Eighth Madingley Conference
A Symposium celebrating 1000 years of Russian monastic presence on the Holy Mountain, Madingley Hall, Cambridge, 3-5 February 2017

Lear's View of Karakalou
FoMA Annual Autumn Meeting, at St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, London EC4Y 8EQ
Wednesday, 9 November, 2016

FoMA's Annual Autumn Conference will feature Stephen Duckworth speaking on the subject, "Edward Lear and Mount Athos." Mr. Duckworth's presentation will be given at the Reception at approximately 7:30 pm.

View Program with information about the speaker and his topic

2016 Pilgrimage Announcement Image
Pilgrimage to Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus: 22 - 30 October, 2016 Pilgrimage to Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus
(exclusively for FoMA members)

The Society is now organizing its thirteenth excursion, this time to medieval Cyprus (north and south). The event will be for nine days (including travel) from Saturday 22 October till Sunday 30 October 2016.

Image: Photograph of the 12th-century Asinou Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and richly painted with wall paintings of the 12th century and later. This church, a UNESCU World Heritage Site, is located in the Troodos mountains of Southern Cyprus where the pilgrimage will take us. Reproduced by courtesy of

FoMA Annual General Meeting, St. Anne's College, Oxford, 4 June, 2016
The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Mount Athos will be convened at the Annual Summer Conference.

FoMA Annual AUTUMN Meeting, St. Bride Foundation, Oxford, 4 November, 2015

Announcement of the meeting of the Society that took place in London on Wednesday 4 November 2015.

The meeting begins at 6.00 pm with a service of Orthodox Vespers in the church of St Dunstan in the West, 184 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HR.

After the service at about 7.00 pm there will be a glass of wine at the St Bride Foundation in Bride Lane, off Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ, followed by an address by Professor Veronica della Dora, who will give a talk entitled "A Pilgrim and Enlightener on the Holy Mountain: Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij’s Journeys to Mount Athos 1725-1744".

Veronica della Dora is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests and publications span historical and cultural geography with a specific focus on landscape, sacred space and the geographical imagination. She is the author of Imagining Mount Athos: Visions of a Holy Place from Homer to World War II (University of Virginia Press, 2011), Landscape, Nature and the Sacred in Byzantium (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in Feb. 2016) and Mountain (Reaktion, forthcoming in late 2016).

Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij (1701-1747) visited the Holy Mountain twice. The first time, in 1725, he visited as a poor student and as a ‘pilgrim-in-becoming’ on his way to the Holy Land; the second time, on his way back to Kiev in 1744, he visited as an experienced traveller, as a Greek-speaking monastic, and as an accomplished scholar—in other words, as an Orthodox enlightener.

Self-enclosed microcosms, Athos’ monasteries provided Barskij with ideal subjects for his drawings. In the sketches accompanying the account of his second visit, the monastic buildings are captured from impossible vantage points, as well as through architectural plans illustrating the dynamics of liturgical performance and other aspects of monastic life. These sketches and the accounts of the two visits provide us with an invaluable source of information on the life on Mount Athos in the first half of the eighteenth century.

There is no charge for attending this meeting, though there will be a plate for contributions towards expenses. Guests are warmly invited to attend.

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.

FoMA Annual Vasilopitta Party at the Oxford & Cambridge Club in Pall Mall, London, 12 January 2016.
Guests are most welcome to join us!

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

File source:
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.

FoMA Autumn Meeting, St. Bride Foundation, London, 12 November, 2014
Speaker: Rt. Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Image: The Rt. Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, speaking before the House of Lords.
You can now view the Bishop's presentation on YouTube

Notices of Events of Related Interest

(Listings are retained for historical interest for a period of time after the event.)