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.
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
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?