BEFORE YOU MAKE PLANS
If you are considering a visit, take careful note of the following facts. Strictly, only men are permitted to visit Mount Athos (there are no exceptions to this rule). The number of visitors permitted on the Holy Mountain at any time is tightly restricted and all visitors are, by definition, pilgrims. Whatever your reason for visiting them, the monks will welcome you as a pilgrim.
WHY CLEAR PATHS ?
“There are a number of reasons why this work is valuable and necessary. It is a work of charity for pilgrims travelling on foot between the monasteries and in slowing down or at least providing an alternative to the growing use of vehicles, we preserve an ancient element of the living history of the Mountain. The miles of kalderimi – cobblestone mule tracks – are monuments as much as the ancient buildings and we help to conserve them and keep them in use. On a personal level, I find the work spiritually uplifting and physically invigorating.. and its carried out with genial companions in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings”. Path Clearer John Mole
The Friends of Mount Athos are committed to the ongoing project of clearing, restoring and maintaining the old Athonite footpaths, many of them are stone-paved (kaldirimi) tracks for transporting goods by mule and dating from late Byzantine times. The project was initiated with the active advocacy and support of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, who continues to actively support the project.
Every year since 1998, FOMA has arranged a path-clearing expedition to Mount Athos and this has grown to become one of the most significant activities in which the Society engages. Typically, the expedition takes place each year in May and is restricted to some 25-30 team members each of whom participates for a period of 1 or 2 weeks.
The 2019 expedition took place May 11 – 26. Those who are interested to take part in 2020 should in the first instance send an email for the attention of the Footpaths Coordinator.
03 path-clearers with Fr Matthew
04 path before clearance
clearing the path -2
Take note that due to the harsh and Alpine environment on Agion Oros, hiking is challenging and could be dangerous if one were to become lost. A number of guides have been provided to assist you as well as a downloadable phone app, which comes complete with street networks, forest streets, trails and land contour lines.