THE ATHOS PENINSULA lies in the South-East of Europe in the Northern Aegean Sea. It constitutes, in accordance with its ancient privileged status, an independent part of the Hellenic State – a unique monastic state. Athos, according to its ancient tradition, permits no access to women, and the monks live a simple life without comforts such as private cars, TV etc. From the moment that monasticism made its appearance on Athos on about AD 800, until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the emperors never ceased to provide it with moral support and economic aid. Today it houses about 2200 monks from Greece, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, the U.S.A. France, Germany and other countries.
The coenobitic Monastery of Koutloumousiou is situated on the NE side of Mount Athos on a green hillside beside the medieval township of Karyes (the small monastic capital of the Athonite citizenship, where the representatives of the 20 monasteries meet), where nature has striven to offer a unique model of magnificence and beauty of form.