The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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The Ninth Madingley Conference
The Life of Prayer on Mount Athos
1 – 3 March, 2019


The Life of Prayer on Mount Athos - 2019

According to St Basil, the monk’s whole life should be a season of prayer, both public prayer and private prayer. That is what the monks of Mount Athos are there to do. That is the basis of their entire way of life. Athos is sometimes called ‘the mountain of silence’, but as one living Athonite has written, ‘here you can hear the hum of unceasing prayer.’

Our conference will explore all dimensions of this mystery, beginning with the deceptively simple question ‘what is prayer?’ Subsequent talks will consider various aspects of prayer as practised on Athos both in public and in private: the prayer of the katholikon and the prayer of the cell, prayer when working, prayer when painting icons, the musical tradition of prayer and the poetic tradition, culminating in the Jesus Prayer or prayer of the heart which is the foundation of the hesychastic renewal of monasticism on Athos.

In addition to the talks, and the discussion that we hope will follow them, the usual liturgical framework of our conference will provide opportunities for praying together in Madingley’s lovely medieval parish church. All are welcome to attend these services which will be celebrated mostly in English.

For some brief notes about our speakers and their talks, please view our downloadable preliminary program


This will be our ninth weekend conference at Madingley. The house dates from the sixteenth century and stands in its own grounds amid beautiful country 3 miles west of Cambridge. The surrounding park was landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1756. In the 1860s Queen Victoria rented the house for The Prince of Wales when he was an undergraduate. Bought by the University of Cambridge in 1948, it operates as a centre for continuing and adult education. The house has been extensively refurbished to provide disabled access, en-suite facilities to all study bedrooms, well-equipped meeting rooms, and a bar. Meals are taken in the great hall where the cuisine achieves a high standard. We are fortunate to have the use of the nearby parish church for our services during the weekend.

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Since the number of places is strictly limited, persons wishing to attend are advised to make a reservation as soon as possible. The conference is also open to non-members. (Bursaries are available)

View Downloadable & Printable Booking Form