Mount Athos & the Monastery of Vatopedi
Mount Athos lies on the Chalkidiki peninsula, in North Eastern Greece and is an important center of Eastern Orthodox Monasticism. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many Eastern Orthodox countries, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world.
The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value. The Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi, on Mount Athos, was founded in the second half of the 10th cen-tury. The monastery has been expanded several times during its history, particularly during the Byzantine period and in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today, more than 120 monks live in the monastery. Is the second in hierarchy among the 20 Monasteries of Mount Athos. The Monastery of Vatopedi holds many precious items of the Orthodox Faith. The Iaspis, a chalice fashioned of a single piece of the precious stone jasper, and numerous icons. Vatopedi’s library preserves a medieval royal charter, the 13th-century Vatopedi Charter of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria dedicated to the monastery. It was discovered in the monastery’s archives in 1929. The library holds 2,000 manuscripts and 35,000 printed books.
Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1988. Only men are permitted to visit the territory, which is called by the monks “The Garden of Virgin Mary”. The total absence of intensive agriculture, factories and commercial activity of any kind has resulted in the area remaining completely untouched.
Now, the Monks of the Vatopedi Monastery have adopted clean, state of the art technology and combining it with traditional methods of cultivation to harvest and produce some of the world’s Finest Olive Oil, Olives, Honey and Wines.
The agricultural products are certainly certified as Organic, but are something much more than this as they are cultivated in the last piece of virgin land known in the world.