Mount Athos is the orchard of the Virgin Mary. Many fragrant spiritual flowers have bloomed in the sanctified soils of Mount Athos which were blessed by the Theotokos herself.
These flowers are the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos, whom the Orthodox Church commemorates today, on Sunday, 21 June, that is, the following Sunday of the Feast of All Saints.
The Saints of Mount Athos were completely devoted to God. Through strict asceticism, fasting, and prayer, they were able to receive the Gifts from Heaven. Saint Nicodemus describes the Saints of Mount Athos as “an example of virtue, who fulfilled God’s command, endured the struggles of asceticism, worked on the side of the angels, followed a holy life, offered shelter to the poor, were a safe haven, and remained steadfast in their faith.” Mount Athos bears the names of its Saints. The Saints of Mount Athos were Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, monks, ascetics, and martyrs.
Apart from being a place of holiness, Mount Athos is also the spiritual epicentre of Orthodoxy, as it houses the holy and sacred relics of the saints and the holy and miraculous icons of the saints, such as the icon of the Theotokos. The Orthodox Faith and the quiet ascetic way of life, that is the quintessential Orthodox Tradition, have been preserved throughout the years at Mount Athos.
One of the last monks of Mount Athos, a charismatic, insightful elder, who was recently canonised is Venerable Elder Paisios. His canonisation took place in January 2015 by decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Source: Metropolis of Zambia