Greece’s ancient monastic community of Mt. Athos, which is home to approximately 2,000 Orthodox monks, will soon begin receiving its electricity from solar panels, according to an announcement from Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the Governor of Central Greece.
The ancient community of monks, perched high on a peninsula in the northeastern corner of the country, has historically used oil-powered generators for all its needs since it has never been hooked up to the nation’s power grid.
At times they also have burned wood, the governor pointed out. Complicating the picture is the fact that each monastery dotted around the peninsula has its own power supply, and this creates many problems, Tzitzikostas added.
Solar Panels will cover all Mt. Athos’ electricity needs
The new solar panels will not only be capable of completely covering Mt. Athos’ energy needs, they will also of course reduce carbon dioxide emissions that the various previous power sources have put into the atmosphere in the past.
Mt. Athos, which because of its unspoiled vistas, has been designated as a Natura 2000 protected zone, is also included in the list of UNESCO monuments due to its ancient monasteries, some of which date back many centuries.
Mt. Athos, located in Northern Greece, is home to 20 historic monasteries and it is, of course, only accessible by males, making it difficult for the public to admire the wealth of historic texts and objects located there firsthand.
Its ancient status as a spiritual center, with a rich monastic tradition, however, has served as a source of religious scholarship and renewal for those who have been fortunate enough to visit there.
A spiritual center for one thousand years
A new digital exhibition, titled “Passage into the Light,” marks an important step for the monastic community of Mt. Athos to connect to contemporary society by providing digital access to its collections, which span one thousand years.
Details about contemporary monastic life on Mt. Athos, which are not usually shown to the broader world, will also be included in the exhibition.
The exhibition, partially funded by the European Union, involved a digitization project that took over four years. Countless manuscripts, art objects, and digital models of monasteries on the site were included in the project.
Educational content about the treasures found in Mt. Athos was created over the platform Moodle, which is used for distance learning.
You can peruse some of the masterpieces from the Mt. Athos collection here.