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The Monks of Mount Athos

A Western Monk's Extraordinary Spiritual Journey on Eastern Holy Ground

Father M. Basil Pennington, OCSO
Foreword by Archimandrite Dionysios

6 x 9, 352 pp, 10+ b/w line drawings, Quality Paperback


Discover the rich spirituality of monastic life on Mount Athos—
a place like no other on earth.

Twenty-five years ago, M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, was the first Western monk to live on Mount Athos for more than the usually permitted overnight visit. The Monks of Mount Athos chronicles his extraordinary stay, his experiences of the East, and lively conversations with his hosts about theological differences and unfamiliar spiritual practices.

Listen in as Abbot Basil wrestles with historical differences between Christianity’s East and West, learns the Orthodox practice of “the prayer of the heart,” and explores the landscape, the monastic communities, and the food of Athos—a monastic republic like no other place on earth. New to this edition, Archimandrite Dionysios, a monk from “the Holy Mountain,” reflects on the ecumenical openness fostered as a result of, and since, Abbot Basil’s stay.

The abbot’s experiences on Mount Athos motivated him to re-examine his role as a monk and his relationship to God. His inspiring meditations will help you to explore your own relationship to God and to others.

Praise for M. Basil Pennington:

“His spirit, his soul, his heart, his eyes, his memory, all of him became a sponge to soak up and to not miss even a second or a single movement…. From within himself he was irrepressibly drawn to be initiated, to be inspired, to commit himself, and like Basil the Great, who visited all the monasteries of his time, to collect the honey of the angelic life of the monks, storing up a treasure which cannot be stolen.”

Archimandrite Dionysios, from the new Foreword to The Monks of Mount Athos

“Basil Pennington is a gifted, creative, powerful and wise teacher—one of the truly precious souls of our generation.”

Lawrence Kushner, author of Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians

“[M. Basil Pennington is] one of the spiritual masters of our time.”

Catholic Book Club

The Very Reverend Archimandrite Dionysios: Monk at Great Meteoron, tonsured by his Elder, Archimandrite Aemilianos. Confessor at Simonos Petras Monastery, Mt. Athos. Unanimously elected Abbot of Pantocrator Monastery, Mt. Athos. Abbot of Holy Cross Monastery, Confessor and Headmaster of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. Founder of Exaltation of the Holy Cross Monastery, Thebes, Greece, where he now serves. Author of The Priest as Confessee and Confessor and many lectures and letters to his spiritual children.

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