Thursday, August 20, 2009

Benedictines on Mount Athos

Irenaeus over at the (Orthodox) Eirenikon blog has posted a fine article by Dom Leo Bonsall from the Eastern Churches Review (1969). The article discusses some of the history of the Benedictine Order in the East and the historical presence of a Benedictine monastery, the Benedictine Monastery of St Mary, on Mount Athos.
BENEDICTINE contacts with the Church of the East have been many and varied, but the foundation of the abbey of St Mary on Mount Athos and its continuing existence during a period when official relations between Rome and Constantinople were at a very low ebb is perhaps the outstanding example of monastic co-operation transcending the estrangement of East and West. The full history of the monastery has never been written, for much of it is shrouded in mystery. There are very few documents and the dating of some of these is difficult; all that visibly remains of the buildings is a tower and a few walls on the eastern side of the Athonite peninsula. It is hardly surprising that one of the first Benedictine foundations in the East should have been made by monks from the maritime city republic of Amalfi: Amalfitan merchant ships were trading throughout the area, and monks from that city continued their founding work with the monastery of St Mary the Latin in Jerusalem, and another monastery in Constantinople itself.
I highly encourage you to read the whole article.

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