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Author Topic: OUTRAGEOUS!!!!  (Read 6311 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 16, 2003, 05:52:03 PM »

I can't copy it out, but the link will take you to an article concerning the fact that the whinging leftists in the European Parliament think it's UNFAIR that the monks on Mt. Athos are left in peace. They INSIST that they allow women on the Holy Mountain.  

Mind, I'd like to see them try to "forcibly impose" this ruling on the monks

And I would very much like to know who it is that will dare to tell the monks.

http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/sep/03091006.html

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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2003, 06:13:20 PM »

The tradition also applies to animals (cats excepted, as it seems), so I imagine a cartel of PETA militants carrying baskets of female puppies will be the first to storm that mountain.

The 'insistence' of the E.U.....well,  you wouldn't want to have it pay you a visit, I can safely say.

I for one, wouldn't mind allowing the Theotokos a piece of defensive military action, if she feels so disposed.  The calendar could use another feast day commemorating an instance of protection from the Holy Mother.  Hey, one can dream.  

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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2003, 06:14:02 PM »

These are the same kind of goofballs that would put female reporters in male atheletes' locker rooms too, I suppose.  And it's already been done.  But try to put a male reporter in a female atheletes' locker room, and you get cries of "Foul!"

What is happening here though is interference in long-standing religious practices.  Just as males are forbidden from entering the cloisters of female monastics, females are forbidden from entering the cloisters of male monastics.  All of Mount Athos is one huge monastery---but monasteries just don't have the right to have their own rules of governance according to the European Parliament, I guess.  This is religious intolerance, no?

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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2003, 06:24:06 PM »

The right to quash monastic existence as it has been known in Holy Orthodoxy for centuries, I guess.  Perhaps it would be better for Greece courageously to bow out from seeking membership in the European Parliament, which also has a number of other issues conflicting with Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) on its agenda.

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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2003, 07:07:31 PM »

Along the lines of Hypo's post about female reporters in men's locker rooms, I wonder: if women have a fundamental right to go to Athos, do I have a fundamental right to use a women's bathroom?  Could be interesting.  Tongue

I may sound stupid for saying this, but this seems more like an anti-male thing than anything else.
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2003, 07:08:54 PM »

France took over the Catholics during the middle ages.  I guess they figure now it's time to take over the Orthodox.  

Why not declare itself a nation state and declare its nuetrality.  Wouldn't that keep them free?  Or they could declare that they are in union with the Vatican and ask for its protection...er...a...o...my...what have I said? Wink

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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2003, 10:51:54 PM »

Pity they can't do so by walking into the women's bathroom at the European Parliament buildings.

Actually, I think it'd be pretty awesome if the all the Athonites would travel as a group to the European Parliament and use the women's bathrooms.  Maybe they could flush the EU constitution and any EU documents related to removing the ban down the toilets.  All in the name of equality and fundamental human rights...
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2003, 12:00:10 AM »

Given how Western Europe has sold its heritage for a pot of Atheism it does not seem that they will be able to resist the next Muslim onslaught.  Europe, it was nice knowing you.

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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2003, 04:43:43 AM »

Perhaps it would be better for Greece courageously to bow out from seeking membership in the European Parliament, which also has a number of other issues conflicting with Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) on its agenda.

Alas, Greece's government is not exactly overflowing with practicing orthodox christians. The prime minister is Jewish and I only know of a few that regularly attend church services. Don't expect this current Socialist government to come to the aid of Mt. Athos.

I should mention that women have been allowed on Mt. Athos in the past during war time. Many women and children fled there and were given sanctuary by the monks until it was safe for them to leave.

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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2003, 08:11:29 AM »

I pray that Our Lord and Savior provide his protection over this Holy mountain and hold back those who want to impose their own will upon it.
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2003, 10:57:20 AM »

Though seeing Mt. Athos with my own eyes would be interesting, I would rather not risk the anger of the Mother of God. Sad to see that Western Europe has abandoned it's religious tradition, & now wants Greece to do so as well.  Hopefully God will do something about this.  Will pray.
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2003, 10:18:20 PM »

This is the way the new order, whose existence is still denied by many, works.

In the new religion-government, a false and polluted concept of human rights prevail, in which men is subject of worship, acompanied by a false sense of humanitarianism between men and women and so on.

Religious reasons are no longer seen as something different compared to politics or common life issues and is to be seen as any other thing. From this perspective, it's understandable to see the refusal by monks to allow women in Athos as an intolerable way to offend women's rights. After all, truth is in constant changes, the modern world is secular, so everything must be commercial. "You can get a lot of success thanks to tourism wow!"

It's not surprising that those who destroy the western church are doing the same with the east now. they know that the best way to get political domination is by replacing or destroying national and religious identity.

I recall that in 1847 when New Mexico was invaded, the USA brought a lot of Protestant missionaries, specialy among the Pueblo Indians who were loyal to the country. They were sure that as long as they were very traditional Catholic, they would not be able to dominate them.

A similar way is used in Russian and Eastern countries, so that they can be anexed to the European Union.
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2003, 04:12:36 AM »

Yet another interference by non-Church goers trying to impose non-religious considerations (liberalism, “open mindedness” etc.) on a long standing religious custom.

The EU is far; I don’t think the demand will be coming to the Island Monasteries of Lake Tana, Ethiopia any time soon (where once again all females, human and animal are forbidden. I am sure the Monks would swap a few insects if they could tell the sex).
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2003, 06:35:04 AM »

the whinging leftists in the European Parliament

oopppss, I took that statement for granted assuming it was true earlier without further looking into the whole situation first. It turns out once again that this has nothin to do with the "Leftist" and only the EU plain and simple:

"The Sylla report received only negative votes by the deputies of the Greek Socialist government."

Now where is the leftist conspiracy at?
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2003, 09:28:32 AM »

I guess it is time for me, once again, to buck the traditions here. I apologize if my opinion offends, but here is my take on this:

These monks are no better than Islamic fundamentalists who fear women and want to keep them "in their place". It has NOTHING to do with Christianity!

I believe that there should be FEMALE monastaries on Athos. Understand that I have no problem with a monastary having certain areas off-limits to the opposite sex, but I do not agree with a blanket ban of any specific sex anymore than I would support a ban based on race.

Where in the New Testament did you hear Jesus telling men to keep  women away because they were too much of a temptation for his disciples? Didn't women travel with Jesus? Jesus was always accomodating to women and treated them as equals (based upon the culture at the time).

This "tradition" of banning all women was started by a bunch of dysfunctional weak men who see women as evil and tempters and were looking for something to blame their weaknesses on.

As John Lennon said "Woman is the (n-word) of the world"
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2003, 10:24:00 AM »

Tom,

Obviously no one could call you a heretic for beleiving this and I too have often wondered about the prudency in the 21st century of not allowing women there, but at the same time, it's a very old tradition and should the EU be the one to change it via legal force? I hope not.

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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2003, 11:32:15 AM »

The impression I get from the various stories is that the EU/EP cannot actually bring legal force to bear on the matter, seeing as how all the treaties involved specifically make provision for Mt. Athos. So everyone is happy; everyone gets the satisifaction of fulminating about the other side, and nothing actually happens.

I have to confess that Athonite monasticism doesn't do a thing for me (and I sympathize heavily with TomS's opinions here). After all, England had double monasteries before the Normans came and ruined everything, presided over by abbesses.
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2003, 11:48:51 AM »

...should the EU be the one to change it via legal force? I hope not.

Let me quote from a document that I hold close to my heart --

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

An no, this does not mean that I would support a law to force the ordination of women priests and such. That "tradition" is founded in scripture.

The banning of women from a geographical area is not.
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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2003, 11:57:00 AM »

I agree, but there were also many island retreats where no woman was allowed to tread.

Equally the deserts of Egypt were not a co-ed environment.

I'd no more think of insisting that I be admitted to an enclosed convent than that I be admitted to one of the desert monasteries. Surely we should ask 'why' do people want to go there?

If it is just as a tourist then why should they be admitted at all. If Orthodox then surely they appreciate that throughout life there are boundaries and prohibitions.

I'll never be a bishop, so I live with it. My wife hasn't converted yet so I'll never be a priest. I live with it. It's not my place to say that this or that is unfair. Isn't that part of our learning humility. If I approached a monastery merely out of touristic curiosity then I'd expect to be refused entry as a guest. Why do we have to change everything - and that isn't a go at anyone who thinks women should be allowed on Mt Athos. But what next? Why is there no room for saying 'no' to people.

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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2003, 12:34:37 PM »

I find it interesting, Peter, that the few on this forum who have expressed themselves in favor of the EU policy are either not Orthodox themselves and have no real understanding of Orthodox monasticism (or only an American Protestant view of it) or admittedly anti-traditional converts.  I plan on posting less and less on threads like this.

<submerging like Serge so often does>
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« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2003, 01:09:53 PM »


An no, this does not mean that I would support a law to force the ordination of women priests and such. That "tradition" is founded in scripture.

The banning of women from a geographical area is not.

And how, TomS, do you intend to demarcate between Caesar and God here? How are you to arbitrarily draw this line? In statute? In secular law? Puleeeeze, it's the Holy Mountain; not a southern US state courthouse or just "a geographical area".
I am waiting to see if Turkey's (you know, that wonderful country not 100 miles east of Mt. Athos where a Moslem is still killed for converting TO Christianity and our seminary remains closed) admission to the EU will be given the same scrutiny. I doubt it.
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« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2003, 02:26:16 PM »

I find it interesting, Peter, that the few on this forum who have expressed themselves in favor of the EU policy are either not Orthodox themselves and have no real understanding of Orthodox monasticism (or only an American Protestant view of it) or admittedly anti-traditional converts.  I plan on posting less and less on threads like this.

<submerging like Serge so often does>

Now hold it. I have refrained from this observation until now, but in this "liberal western country" (the USA) the whole issue would be a complete non-starter. No American court would give any government this kind of power over territory owned by a private religious interest. (Modulo Janet Reno, of course.  :- ) And it does seem to me that the Euro. Parliament doesn't have any actual power to force this on Greece or the monasteries.

Being the Western Protestant that I am, I am quite willing to distinguish between what I approve or disapprove of, and what the law should have an interest in. French activists and politicians don't strike me as a particularly convincing source of moral authority, to put it mildly. But it seems to me that the whole thing seems to be more about feeling good about one's outrage than anything effectual.
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« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2003, 04:01:10 PM »

And how, TomS, do you intend to demarcate between Caesar and God here? How are you to arbitrarily draw this line? In statute? In secular law?

"An edict of the Emperor Constantine Manomachos in the year 1060, enforced to this day, forbids women from setting foot on the peninsula."

So, we have an answer to your question: if Ceaser made the law, then Ceaser has the right to change the law.

---------

Surely we should ask 'why' do people want to go there? If it is just as a tourist then why should they be admitted at all. If Orthodox then surely they appreciate that throughout life there are boundaries and prohibitions.

Here is one woman's reason:

"I'VE BEEN to Mount Athos . I walked thoughtfully through the wooded peaks, rested serenely by the magical waters, attended heart-suspending services and discussed the truth of God and the state of my soul with kind, gentle monks. I went there with the honourable and purely spiritual intention of achieving enlightenment, as are those held by any pilgrim - but to do this I had to take on a wickedly false appearance. I had to disguise myself as a man, because women are banned from entry. I had to plaster onto my upper lip a thin moustache, cut my hair in a short, sharp manly style, speak in a deep, coarse voice and walk with a manly straddle. I moved in constant fear of being caught out, of being chastised and humiliated for wanting to do something I felt was crucial to me. But after all, as the Friends Of Mount Athos write in their website, "in English the word [pilgrimage] means a journey undertaken for religious purposes and implies a degree of hardship or discomfort." Thus I never thought it was going to be easy.

But I lie, as us temptress, evil, conniving women do.........

http://www.athensguide.com/journalists/articles/athos.htm

---------

I find it interesting, Peter, that the few on this forum who have expressed themselves in favor of the EU policy are either not Orthodox themselves and have no real understanding of Orthodox monasticism (or only an American Protestant view of it) or admittedly anti-traditional converts.  I plan on posting less and less on threads like this.
<submerging like Serge so often does>

 Tongue  Roll Eyes  :cwm25: :cwm36:  and finally "oy vey!"

-----

C'mon people! It is a BIG area of real estate! You are trying to tell me that there is just absolutely no way that BOTH parties could be accomodated???!!!

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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2003, 04:32:14 PM »

To Tom,

You may be right, you may be wrong.  But obviously we are dealing with some deeply held views here that are dear to some people's hearts.  For others this is a major issue of the faith.  Let's try to be like St Paul and not eat the idol food if it causes the bretheren scandal.

To others,

This is a discussion forum and Tom expressed his opinion which cannot be called "un-Orthodox" but which might be considered strange, innovative, bad, whatever by others, but which still he has a right to say. Let's not go to the extreme and make it out like Tom is a heretic for saying what he said.

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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2003, 05:00:41 PM »

"I'VE BEEN to Mount Athos . I walked thoughtfully through the wooded peaks, rested serenely by the magical waters, attended heart-suspending services and discussed the truth of God and the state of my soul with kind, gentle monks. I went there with the honourable and purely spiritual intention of achieving enlightenment, as are those held by any pilgrim - but to do this I had to take on a wickedly false appearance. I had to disguise myself as a man, because women are banned from entry. I had to plaster onto my upper lip a thin moustache, cut my hair in a short, sharp manly style, speak in a deep, coarse voice and walk with a manly straddle. I moved in constant fear of being caught out, of being chastised and humiliated for wanting to do something I felt was crucial to me. But after all, as the Friends Of Mount Athos write in their website, "in English the word [pilgrimage] means a journey undertaken for religious purposes and implies a degree of hardship or discomfort." Thus I never thought it was going to be easy.


But if someone was seeking enlightenment why would they do so at the cost of causing offense and by deceit? I am confused. Why would I dress as a woman and seek to trick my way into the company of some amma who had entered a life of seclusion away from the company of men? How could I receive a blessing? Surely I should seek out a spiritual word in a more honest manner from one who was ready to receive me? Isn't it like me deciding I'd be blessed by visiting the EP so I dress up as a bishop from an obscure See and try to trivk my way into his presence? Wouldn't it be better to receive a blessing from my own bishop, who knows me for who I am? Athos isn't the only place where saintly people dwell - and we are not Muslims committed to performing some pilgrimage to Athos. If we are so obsessed about getting to Athos, or in my case the desert monasteries of Nitria then surely we should at least consider that we are merely preferring to think about why we can't become holy right where God has put us - I know it's a temptation for me. If only I could go here, receive a blessing from such and such a person etc etc. all an excuse for me not to get on with the ascesis God has already given me for my salvation.

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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2003, 05:01:52 PM »

"An edict of the Emperor Constantine Manomachos in the year 1060, enforced to this day, forbids women from setting foot on the peninsula."

So, we have an answer to your question: if Ceaser made the law, then Ceaser has the right to change the law.

Well done, TomS.
I'll accept your historical reference as fact and STILL take issue with you on this point. Many are well aware of the "caesaro-papist'" excesses of Constantinople in the past. But a 940+ year old edict from a government that has been extinct for 550 years becomes meaningless when that edict has become T/traditon. We have one renegade monastic community there now (and I feel for them, even in their error), but we'll have 19 more if we go down the path you apparently are advocating. I'm sure the Church will be well served.
Are you a moderator at OC.net? If so, and this is your tone, I am going to  sort of follow Serge - I won't submerge, just leave. There is better work to do for the Church than this.
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« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2003, 05:33:10 PM »

Friends,

It really saddens me when people threaten to quit posting due to a thread that irks them.  We at OCnet work hard to keep as many people happy as possible but we can't always do that. People have opinions and express them. We are not always going to agree. We're not going to go around silencing everyone who doesn't toe the party line.  If you do that you get some of the other internet Orthodox forums where everyone is afraid to post questions for fear of being attacked, but everyone is quick to condemn.  Here we have maintained a balance for quite some time, and I am very proud of our community.

OCnet is not going to please everyone.  

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« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2003, 05:34:46 PM »

Just for reference, Moderators at OC.net have the word 'Moderator' or 'Administrator' under their names.

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« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2003, 07:21:20 PM »

Hypo and others have spoken very well on this and there isn't much I can add...

There is a Serbian women's monastery here in AZ and thier rule is that men are not allowed in the nave of the church during services.  I've never felt discriminated against or any other B.S. that everybody seems to feel these days.  That is the rule Mother Abbess has put in place to aide in the spiritual life of the sisters.  In Greece I know of monastiers that follow a stricter rule of no men except priests who are serving.  Some people need this strictness in their spiritual lives.  Another interesting thing (to me at least) is that many Athonite took a large number of female spiritual children (especially nuns) whom they never saw once in their lives since they never left the Holy Mountian.  

Peter also brought up a very good point, what sort of blessing could you ask for in all honesty by posing as a man and directly ignoring the commands of the Panagia?  In Orthodox Monasticism the greatest virtue is obedience - it even surpasses prayer.  The Fathers say this because even in prayer and spiritual matters we can have our own will.  So in the end for a woman to want to go to the Holy Mountain seems to me to be greatly prideful and vain glorious than anything else.  There are eldresses out there just as holy and skilled in the spiritual life as the the great Athonite fathers...

If your spiritual father gives the blessing (yeah I know how un American this sounds) read some patristic works on monasticism and realize that this is the patristic path.   If you can't differentiate this from Islam's suppression of women from Orthodoxy Monasticisms isolation from the opposite sex you are suffering from a complete lack of discernment.
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« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2003, 09:07:09 PM »

Vivki and Nekatarios,

Well said.
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« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2003, 12:01:10 AM »

Quote
 We live in a culture that idolizes gurus...and because Orthodoxy has become "more mainstream" we are seeing the emergence of books on "Elder Joseph the Hesychast" for example...SO...what do we do? American-fashion..we want to meet THAT Geronda (yeah, I know he is dead, it's an example)...and kiss HIS hand in blessing...never mind that with busloads of tourists someone who wants to spend a life in hesychasm will be uttering the words "bless you" in a very different tone!

Fr. Seraphim (Rose) writes about Ameicans (but I think this applies to most secular "Western" nations -even Greece) having the so-called disney land mentality.  I think a lot of this carries over to the spiritual life (at least it has in me!).  The fathers warn of doing spiritual "experiences" just for the sake of satisfying the self and the feel good aspect.  A good story of this comes from Elder Iakovos of Evia...a spiritual son of his wanted a blessing to go to the Holy Mountain and the Elder responded, "Why? You have Athos right here!"  It is also intersting to read the life of Elder Leonid of Optina who wouldn't recieve a pilgrim a second time until they had applied everything he had told them the first time he saw them.    

Still we must be very careful not to de-emphasize the role of the Elder / spiritual father as the fathers say this is absolutely essential to the spiritual life.  I've had the great blessing of venerating the relics of Elder Joseph and recieving the blessing of Elder Ephraim many times...and the very little progress I have made in fighting the passions is solely through their holy prayers.  I can hardly describe the spiritual rejuvenation felt after recieving the counsels of Elder Paisios.  

Still when re-reading the link TomS posted I perciece much anger from this women who went to the Holy Mountain.  If she really sought Athonite spirituality Geronda Ephraim is the spiritual father of a womens monastery in Thessaloniki.  These most holy nuns recieve the same guidance and fight the same spiritual battle as the monks of Philotheou or Vatopedi.  But she wouldn't be able to feed her teenage level maturity and rebelliousness there, would she?


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« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2003, 04:12:08 AM »

Mount Athos does not just have monks living in the various monasteries, sketes and cells, but every generation has a number of hermits living in caves and makeshift huts throughout the penninsula.

Mount Athos is also crawling with demons that are either engaged in open spiritual warfare with the monks or held there by the prayers of the monks, thus saving many people out in the world from suffering their attacks. These monks are our frontline defences against the evil one. If the environment that has been established for centuries provides the best conditions for their struggles against the enemy, then I for one would not consider meddling with that.

For centuries, women have never questioned their not being allowed to enter Mt. Athos. Rather, they have seen it as a blessing for their husbands and sons who are able to visit, and they shared in that blessing when their men returned from the Holy Mountain transformed. I have to wonder what is so different about the present that requires a change. I also have to wonder about those who are calling for a change and what possible authority they could have to declare that they know better in a few short years than what centuries of experience has taught the monks of Mt. Athos. It is like someone after one reading of a aeronautics textbook, telling an aeronautical engineer with years of experience that he should be designing aeroplanes differently.

I also question whether those women who wish to visit Mt. Athos, have actually stayed at any of the many convents in Greece. My family and I often visit the Convent of the Annunciation near Ormylia (Halkidiki) and we recently spent three days at the Convent of the Archangel Michael on the island of Thassos (which we learned has Father Ephraim as its spiritual father). Ormylia is heaven on earth and our stay on Thassos was unforgettable. I can't imagine women drinking from these springs and still thirsting for the water of Mt. Athos, because these springs all come from the same source.

Non-orthodox insisting on women being allowed to visit Mt. Athos does not surprise me. Nor does the same opinion coming from converts to Orthodoxy (of which I am one). Unfortunately it is my experience that even many cradle orthodox (even those living in Greece) do not fully appreciate nor understand Athonite monasticism, especially when one of their children decides to become a monk.

TomS, I disagree with your opinions regarding women and Mt. Athos, but I can appreciate where you are coming from.
Regarding this
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And no, this does not mean that I would support a law to force the ordination of women priests and such. That "tradition" is founded in scripture.

The banning of women from a geographical area is not.
Scripture is silent on this and the church is the pillar and ground of truth. Since the church says that this is a good thing and scripture does not say otherwise, I am inclined to be obedient to the church. Also, wouldn't it be more correct to say that scripture is founded in tradition?

Regarding this statement
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This "tradition" of banning all women was started by a bunch of dysfunctional weak men who see women as evil and tempters and were looking for something to blame their weaknesses on.
This sounds like completely unsubstantiated opinion to me. Do you have anything to back this up?

unworthy John.
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« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2003, 06:08:26 PM »

I condemn this assault on the religious freedom of the Mt. Athos monks, and would remind you all that the target of liberal secularists is not "Orthodox," or "Evangelical" or "Catholic."

The target is Christianity, and they will not be sated until they have devoured us all. This is why we need to stick together as Christians.
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« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2003, 09:59:59 PM »

Everyone is acting like my post said that I think that women should be allowed to wander freely throughout the Holy Mountain and that monks should be FORCED to co-mingle with woman. That is not what I said. I specifically said that I would agree to limit where members of BOTH sexes are allowed to go out of the religious concerns of the others.

I said that it is a big area and that there should be enough space for both MALE AND FEMALE monastaries to exist. There is no need for the male monks to come into contact with the female monks if they choose not to.

Why does everyone find this so objectionable? Why is it right that only MALE's should be allowed to have monastaries there?

It is not as if I am questioning the basic tenants of Orthodoxy! I am simply questioning a tradition (and I think we can all agree that that is what this is that may need to be modified (i.e. women covering their heads in church, seperating men and women, no pews, etc.). And yes, I KNOW that you all may NOT agree with these modifications either. But for a majority of US OC's -- they exist and have been accepted.

There have benn many, many traditions of the Church that have been modified throughout history. And that is all I am proposing.  

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« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2003, 08:36:16 AM »

Why does everyone find this so objectionable? Why is it right that only MALE's should be allowed to have monastaries there?

Well why shouldn't it be just for males? I'd have no problem at all with a penisular or island somewhere in the world being established for females only as a largescale monastic retreat.

The development of separate ways and places of living for monks in seclusion is entirely based, not on hatred of women, or unfairness, but because it is well understood that the development of the spiritual life requires, for men at least, a separation from women. Maybe men are the weaker sex -  I know I am weak. And I know that the presence of women is a temptation for me. It would be hard for me to be a monk, harder still to be a monk in the company of women.

Athos is not a special place that men have taken over. It is a special place BECAUSE of the monks. It is only a peninsular, a piece of ground. If another place were dedicated to women monastics it would be equally special - again, not because of the place but because of the people.

And if it is the monastics who are special then we do not need to go to Athos, or the desert monasteries of my own Coptic Orthodox Church to find such wise guides, they are in many other places closer to home, if it is really their wisdom, and not spiritual tourism, we are interested in.

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« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2003, 09:04:00 PM »

The issue isn't about whether or not it's a good idea for the monks to allow women on Mt. Athos. I think they ought to. But it isn't my decision, nor the EU's decision. Tom, I'm astonished that you would focus on your own disagreement with the monks' policy (a disagreement I share--shucks, I'm a heretic Anglican who believes in women's ordination!) when the EU's decision is so obviously an act of blatant tyranny and persecution. It's none of the EU's business.

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« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2003, 10:29:00 PM »

What I have learned from this thread is that those who don't understand Orthodox monasticism simply don't get it and won't get it until they have experienced Orthodoxy.  Modern Americans KNOW better than the Holy Fathers, so what's the point....
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« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2003, 10:46:53 PM »

<surface>

TomS is pushing the envelope with his opinion but AFAIK he has said nothing heretical according to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Of course I agree that the EU is dead wrong to pick on the monks. Definitely a libertarian issue as well as a Christian one. A sinister New World Order kind of threat? I think so.

I wrote once before that maybe Athos would be in a better position to defend itself if it were considered, for this purpose as far as the EU are concerned, church property (read: private property) that is part of Greece, which I think politically it is anyway (Greece represents it in international politics and protects it militarily).

OTOH as an independent country Athos might do all right ’cos it could say that, unlike Greece, it doesn't belong to the EU and could tell them to clear off.

The Vatican might be next to be picked on, as it might belong to the EU (it uses Vatican euros and not Vatican lire now).
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« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2003, 11:23:52 PM »

Vicki,

They already are an autonomous region of Greece that has to deal with its own internal issues--they even elect one of the abbots to be their "head of state".  Not as big of a problem as being totally independent but they already have a de facto government there.

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« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2003, 07:51:56 AM »

Vicki,

They already are an autonomous region of Greece that has to deal with its own internal issues--they even elect one of the abbots to be their "head of state".  Not as big of a problem as being totally independent but they already have a de facto government there.

anastasios

That is what I understood as well.  I have read that some of the monestaries still fly the flag of Imperial Byzantium over their roofs.  It was said Mt. Athos is the last remaining living piece of the Byzantine Empire remaining.
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« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2003, 12:30:27 PM »

Vicki,

I wouldn't object if the same rules were in place for male and female monasteries. But my understanding is that female convents do generally allow male visitors. Certainly the Romanian convent (Holy Dormition) in Michigan I visited a few years ago did Smiley And it's that double standard that I object to. If women can function spiritually with men around, why can't men function with women around? I just don't buy this--it seems to stem from the attitude that women are Irresistible Temptresses, and this is I think a product of late ancient Mediterranean culture and not of the Gospel. Certainly our Lord and the Apostles traveled with women, and as someone else pointed out many Celtic and Saxon monasteries were composed of both men and women (in separate buildings, I believe). I think part of living a holy life as a Christian is learning to treat women as sisters in Christ and not as objects of lust.

Also, what about monks who may have homosexual inclinations? I'm not talking about the fairly small number of people who have exclusively same-sex attraction for whatever reason (presumably such people should not choose the cenobitic life), but the much larger number of men who might find themselves attracted to other men on occasion, especially if there were no women around.

I just don't accept the idea that one can ever create circumstances in which there are no temptations to lust. I'm not talking about men and women sharing dormitories, or even buildings. I'm talking about modestly dressed female pilgrims praying in church, and maybe even female monasteries, though that's unlikely ever to happen.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2003, 01:06:22 PM »

Vicki,

I wouldn't object if the same rules were in place for male and female monasteries. But my understanding is that female convents do generally allow male visitors. Certainly the Romanian convent (Holy Dormition) in Michigan I visited a few years ago did Smiley And it's that double standard that I object to.

There are female monasteries that allow men to visit, and there are male monasteries that allow women to visit.  But there are also female monasteries that only allow women to visit, and male monasteries that only allow men to visit.  It is not that the females allow men but the males do not allow women.  It depends on the monastery in question.  So why should individual monasteries of either sex be forced to do something which they have chosen against as better assisting the life they have chosen?  

Quote
If women can function spiritually with men around, why can't men function with women around? I just don't buy this--it seems to stem from the attitude that women are Irresistible Temptresses, and this is I think a product of late ancient Mediterranean culture and not of the Gospel.

So what is the excuse for the women in the female monasteries I spoke of above?  

Quote
Certainly our Lord and the Apostles traveled with women, and as someone else pointed out many Celtic and Saxon monasteries were composed of both men and women (in separate buildings, I believe). I think part of living a holy life as a Christian is learning to treat women as sisters in Christ and not as objects of lust.

Again, all of this is focused on men not allowing women into their monasteries, but no one is concerned about those women who do not allow men to visit their monasteries.  What is their excuse?  Furthermore, by the logic above, the whole concept of the hermit would have to be thrown out, because part of living a holy life as a Christian is learning to love your neighbour, and if you live away from all human contact, how can you ever learn to do that?  Yet, hermits have been around for centuries, and are part of our common Christian heritage.

Quote
Also, what about monks who may have homosexual inclinations? I'm not talking about the fairly small number of people who have exclusively same-sex attraction for whatever reason (presumably such people should not choose the cenobitic life), but the much larger number of men who might find themselves attracted to other men on occasion, especially if there were no women around.

I would presume that such things would come up while those responsible for accepting new monastics in their monasteries were examining the person's fitness for monastic life.  

Quote
I just don't accept the idea that one can ever create circumstances in which there are no temptations to lust. I'm not talking about men and women sharing dormitories, or even buildings. I'm talking about modestly dressed female pilgrims praying in church, and maybe even female monasteries, though that's unlikely ever to happen.

If we are looking at this only in terms of lust, I would suppose this could be answered by saying that it is not about creating the perfect circumstances, because there are none; it is about getting rid of as much temptation as possible.  Even after we try our best, there will still be temptation, because the devil is crafty, but we certainly don't need to give him a hand.
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« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2003, 06:01:16 PM »

Edwin,

There are a number of women's monasteries that do not allow men to visit and many that place restrictions on what eactly men can do while they are there.  I have been to the latter style of monasteries and have never felt discriminated against.  Most Western Liberals don't have enough real problems so this is a prime example of them making up problems.
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« Reply #43 on: September 27, 2003, 04:03:20 PM »

I do not see how someone genuinely interested in learning from the monks, and advancing spiritually, can possibly gain anything by twisting the arms of their potential hosts.  The attitude of these egalitarian atheists (whether explicitly or implicitly) is not one of a desire to learn from the monks about Orthodox piety, but to teach THEM about secular liberalism.  As such, this is not a desire to open Mt.Athos up to more people, but a desire to attack and alter an Orthodox establishment.

The disgusting attitude of the painted jezebell "Greek" who is amongst the so called "Orthodox" petitioning for this change is one thorougly imbued with a loathing for genuine Orthodoxy.  This is about asserting one's supposed "rights" by kicking down a fence - not because the fence is really blocking them from somewhere they ACTUALLY want to go, but simply because it is there.  Hence, they are moral vandals, and little else.  I cannot but speak with contempt of this cause, and it's proponents (in particular, those nominally coming from an "Orthodox" background.)

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