New foundation organizes fund drive to support Mount Athos in Greece

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
New foundation organizes fund drive to support Mount Athos in GreeceMount Athos, revered as the Garden of the Virgin Mary, has long been recognized as the heart of Eastern Orthodox spirituality

The monastic community of Mount Athos, revered as the Garden of the Virgin Mary, has long been recognized as the heart of Eastern Orthodox spirituality. This pan-Orthodox sanctuary has been inhabited by monks since the 4th century. For more than a thousand years, it has been a place of refuge from an unstable, tumultuous, and materialistic world. Today more than ever its Byzantine-era monasteries, its ancient footpaths through stately old forests, and the elders who carry on the ancient tradition of offering counsel, insight, and blessing to all comers, are a critically important spiritual resource. In the present world, Mount Athos remains a sacred space where time slows down, paced by bells, church services, and times of prayer.  Now a recognized as a World Heritage Site, The Holy Mountain draws pilgrims, Orthodox, and others, from all over the world, seeking spiritual regeneration and rediscovery of lost communion with the divine.

Even this refuge is not immune from the problems of our world, however. The Athonite fathers of today are confronting worsening threats of forest fire and violent storms, the Greek fiscal crisis, and the current pandemic, all while bearing their responsibility for preservation of an Orthodox heritage of iconographic art, manuscripts, and monastic buildings. The Athonite Community depends upon the faithful and upon world governments in their efforts to protect and preserve this sanctuary.

In 1990, the Friends of Mount Athos (FoMA) was organized in the United Kingdom to support the well-being of the Athonite monasteries. It quickly began welcoming American members. The Society is known worldwide today, both for its services in support of the Holy Mountain and its programs supporting pilgrimage – its yearly expeditions to maintain the ancient footpaths, its superb maps for guiding pilgrims on those paths, and its Pilgrims’ Guide for planning pilgrimages.

Returning from a pilgrimage in 2014, a Greek American sought to make a donation as a way to give something back in appreciation and thanks for the spiritual renewal he had experienced there. The process was neither easy, nor tax-deductible. Returning two years later, he was approached by the monk in charge of administration for one of the monasteries. Their discussion turned to the looming financial challenges facing the monasteries as a result of the economic crisis in Greece.

This conversation inspired him to meet with FoMA’s American Membership Secretary, where he learned that an effort was under way to establish a 501(c)(3) foundation.  That meeting turned out to be the final catalyst needed to launch an American initiative – The Mount Athos Foundation of America. MAFA was incorporated in 2016 and received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2018.

MAFA’s mission is to promote an understanding of, and provide benefit to, the monastic community of Mount Athos on several fronts: Heritage - restoration and preservation of historic monuments and artifacts; Understanding - fostering knowledge and appreciation for the monastic communities, and; Operations - aiding the 20 monasteries and their dependencies in times of need to sustain monastic life.

To carry out its mission, MAFA works cooperatively with the Athonite Community and The Mount Athos Center in Thessaloniki, Greece, as well as with organizations and foundations in the United States and abroad that share similar interests. MAFA is now actively soliciting tax-deductible donations.

MAFA’s executive committee have an ambitious plan: to build an endowment that would enable MAFA to be a steady and reliable support for the Holy Mountain in times of need, like the recent economic crisis in Greece, times when normal sources of funding are depleted or unavailable. But in the course of the Foundation’s first two years, before they could even begin the task of endowment-building, one critical need arose after another. The fledgling foundation found itself raising funds to respond to these critical needs.

In just two years, MAFA has been able to provide financial support toward:

  • a FoMA project to restore the historic Axion Estin cell, which had been falling into ruin,
  • emergency repairs at the Grigoriou Monastery following a fire that destroyed the Monastery’s electromechanical facility last summer,
  • a feasibility study for an ecologically sound footpaths restoration project at Simonopetra Monastery, in the course of which a damaging recent storm demonstrated the effects of climate change and the need for the careful planning that the study would provide,
  • MAFA travel grants to support Athos-related theological and historical research by several young scholars and theologians, and
  • critically needed equipment and medical supplies for the recently completed Mount Athos Health Center for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 among monks and pilgrims.

In September, MAFA will be launching its first annual fund drive, culminating in MAFA’s Patronal festival on November 21st, the celebration of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple.

This Feast Day commemorates how Mary committed herself totally to God as a young child as she was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem to remain there to be prepared for her role as the Bearer of God (Theotokos) – foreshadowing how a monk/nun leaves the world to commit himself/herself to monastic life.

MAFA plans to use these funds both to meet immediate needs in the year ahead and to start building the endowment that will provide for reliable, sustained support for the Holy Mountain in the future.  MAFA encourages all who share an appreciation for the Holy Mountain to get involved by joining the Friends of Mount Athos (athosfriends.org/joining-foma/) and by learning more about the Mount Athos Foundation of America and its mission. Additional information can be found on www.mountathosfoundation.org.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Gabriel 


Tornos
  1. 24/09 21:38

    Media report: Greek universities won't go remote again during pandemic

  2. 24/09 16:03

    Greek regions placed under curfew over Covid-19 infections

  3. 24/09 10:57

    Alica Ѕchmidt, the sexiest athlete in the world is in the Greek island of Crete

  4. 24/09 10:43

    Greek PM to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York

  5. 24/09 09:33

    Athens Acropolis site to close down on Saturday afternoon for EU event

  6. 24/09 08:25

    ARCAthens co-curates the 7th Athens Biennale ECLIPSE on September 24

  7. 24/09 07:19

    European Heritage Days 2021 marked in Greece on September 24-26

  8. 24/09 06:45

    PM to Bloomberg: Greece had a very good tourist season in 2021

  9. 24/09 05:54

    Greece registers 2,125 new Covid-19 cases and 31 fatalities on Thursday

  10. 23/09 16:06

    Arcturos Sanctuary to give home to three rare Eurasian lynxes in Greece

  11. 23/09 15:57

    Greek organic farm wins two gold awards at the 'Great Taste Awards 2021' in London

  12. 23/09 15:37

    'Under the Light of Apollo: The Louvre in Delphi' exhibition inaugurated in Greece

  13. 23/09 14:27

    Wine helping tourism recover in Greece

  14. 23/09 14:01

    Cyprus to participate in EXPO2020 to be organized in Dubai

  15. 23/09 13:43

    Greek Island of Milos presented by Louis Vuitton in new ad campaign

  16. 23/09 12:49

    World Tourism Organization organizes First World Sports Tourism Congress

  17. 23/09 12:22

    Council of Rectors in favour of in-person attendance at Greek universities

  18. 23/09 11:32

    Harvard University and Tufts University hold conference on Greek Revolution

  19. 23/09 10:50

    Greek Post Office has begun using Chinese-made robotic mail sorters

  20. 23/09 09:10

    IATA urges Ethiopian government to maintain support for aviation sector

  21. 22/09 23:28

    Media report: Despite COVID-19 rise, Greece won't tighten health measures

  22. 22/09 22:43

    Real estate taxes for 2021 posted by Greece's tax service online

  23. 22/09 21:39

    Five lesser known Greek islands featured in Condé Nast Traveler

  24. 22/09 21:02

    Greece records 2,329 new Covid-19 infections and 26 fatalities on Wednesday

  25. 22/09 20:52

    Investment ministers of Greece and Saudi Arabia discuss strategic cooperation

  26. 22/09 20:35

    Athens Acropolis Museum upgrades services with new, interactive website

  27. 22/09 19:48

    Cyprus narrows its safe list down to three EU countries for tourist arrivals

  28. 22/09 17:10

    IATA announces speakers and agenda for the World Air Transport Summit in Boston

  29. 22/09 15:06

    2022 Edition IATA manuals reflecting vital airline standard updates now available

  30. 22/09 13:56

    UNWTO: Urgent global call for commitment to a decade of climate action in tourism

  31. 21/09 19:00

    Greek government spokeperson: 'This is now a pandemic for the unvaccinated'

  32. 21/09 17:03

    US Navy will add second base at Souda Bay on Greek island of Crete

  33. 21/09 15:10

    Sector chiefs: Revenues from Greek tourism could reach €12 bln this year

  34. 21/09 13:45

    U.S. to relax travel restrictions permitting entry for vaccinated European visitors

  35. 21/09 12:55

    IATA on US decision to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions from certain countries

  36. 21/09 12:52

    Temperatures to plunge up to 9C below seasonal average in Greece this week

  37. 21/09 11:26

    Third dose vaccination appointments for those over 60 to open in Greece on September 30

  38. 20/09 17:11

    French president and wife visit the Athens Acropolis on Friday

  39. 20/09 16:59

    Norwegian Ambassador to Athens: Changes in Greek energy sector are impressive

  40. 20/09 16:48

    Greek Education Minister notes high rate of vaccination among students

  41. 20/09 16:13

    Monica Bellucci in Athens for three nights for play about Greek diva Maria Callas

  42. 20/09 16:06

    World Tourism Day 2021 theme coincides with Cyprus National Tourism Strategy

  43. 20/09 15:54

    Travel and Leisure: Greece dominates list of top-20 islands of Europe

  44. 20/09 14:16

    Bank of Greece: Greek travel receipts soared 139.7% during first seven months in 2021

  45. 20/09 13:36

    Greek government spokesperson: The Athens Declaration a milestone for EU Med 9

  46. 20/09 12:04

    The Greek National Opera returns to Stavros Niarchos Hall in Athens

  47. 19/09 21:20

    Deputy Education Minister: High vaccination rate in Greek universities encouraging

  48. 19/09 20:00

    Greece to administer third dose of Covid vaccines to those older than 60

  49. 19/09 19:26

    1,305 new Covid-19 cases and 33 fatalities recorded in Greece on Sunday

  50. 18/09 16:43

    Air passenger traffic in Greece “took off” in August

  51. 16/09 19:31

    Metro will not be reaching Athens Airport station for several hours on Friday and Saturday

  52. 16/09 19:22

    Greece records 2,322 new covid-19 infections and 42 fatalities on Thursday

  53. 16/09 18:41

    Athens Acropolis site to shut down for 3 hours on Sunday

  54. 16/09 17:35

    AP: Greece's courts require workers and users vaccinated or not COVID-19 infected

  55. 16/09 16:57

    EUmed 9 summit being held at SNFCC in Greek capital of Athens on Friday

  56. 16/09 16:26

    Irish airline Ryanair planning to create 5,000 jobs over the next five years

  57. 16/09 15:10

    Passione Rossa Ferrari Club road show at Piraeus port for 'Days of the Sea' festival

  58. 16/09 13:15

    Gordon, Gino & Fred Go Greek kicks off on ITV channel on September 27

  59. 16/09 11:05

    Cyprus Deputy Minister sees prospects for Saudi tourists through Bahrain

  60. 16/09 10:49

    Minister estimates that €6 bln will be chanelled to IT and telecoms projects in Greece

  61. 15/09 14:49

    COVID-19 pandemic expected to infect 50,000 children aged 12-18 in Greece in Autumn

  62. 15/09 14:47

    UNWTO members plan coordinated restart of sector in Asia and the Pacific

  63. 15/09 13:30

    Greek Finance Minister leaves open possibility of further favourable interventions

  64. 15/09 12:03

    Greek government takes balanced measures to protect the health and the rights of citizens

  65. 15/09 09:33

    Hellenic Development Bank and Federation of Industries of Greece sign joint actions memo

  66. 14/09 18:58

    AP: 80% of adult population vaccinated with at least one dose in Cyprus

  67. 14/09 15:23

    Education Minister: Health protocols in Greek schools will change

  68. 14/09 14:22

    IATA Regional Vice President in Asia-Pacific

  69. 13/09 21:52

    14th Animasyros 2021 International Animation Festival starts on September 22

  70. 12/09 14:32

    Greece puts squeeze on unvaccinated citizens barring them from indoor spots

  71. 12/09 12:36

    Greek Foreign Ministry expresses solidarity to U.S.A. on 20th anniversary of 9-11 attacks

  72. 11/09 16:27

    Athens Half Marathon race to be dedicated to late composer Mikis Theodorakis

  73. 11/09 16:20

    UNWTO: Innovation and partnerships to make wine tourism driver rural development

  74. 11/09 16:11

    Modified covid test requirements for domestic travel in Greece on Monday, September 13

  75. 09/09 22:37

    Minister: Coronavirus vaccination centers coming to Greek universities

  76. 09/09 21:59

    Greek PM: EKO Acropolis Rally 2021 'Rally of Gods' is 'here to stay'

  77. 09/09 20:29

    1 in 4 high school students in Greece have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine

  78. 09/09 19:50

    Greece records 2,170 new covid-19 infections and 43 fatalities on Thursday

  79. 09/09 14:54

    Minister: Larnaca Port and Marina project the largest project ever in Cyprus

  80. 08/09 19:41

    Greece will launch COVID-19 vaccination campaign to 12-17 year-olds

  81. 08/09 19:30

    Statement concerning Celestyal Cruises sale of The Experience published

  82. 08/09 16:36

    Greek weather service warns of heavy rain and storms

  83. 08/09 15:25

    Education Minister outlines protocol for schooling system in Greece

  84. 08/09 11:45

    Free self-tests available to all school students in Greece as of Wednesday

  85. 07/09 18:08

    Greece records 2,807 new COVID-19 cases and 38 fatalities on Tuesday

  86. 07/09 16:32

    AP: Vulnerable Greeks and over-60’s to get COVID-19 booster shots

  87. 07/09 16:04

    Roads temporarily closed in downtown Athens due to EKO Acropolis Rally

  88. 07/09 14:24

    Tourism Minister: Greece will continue to receive USA visitors until end of the season

  89. 07/09 14:11

    ELSTAT: Greek economy grew 16.2% in Q2

  90. 06/09 20:05

    AP: Greece starts administering COVID-19 vaccines outside churches

  91. 06/09 19:01

    Greece records 1,765 new Covid-19 cases and 47 fatalities on Monday

  92. 06/09 17:55

    UNWTO connects investors with Ministers of Tourism at Cabo Verde Forum

  93. 06/09 15:15

    Meeting discusses measures for Greece's Acropolis Rally 2021 on September 9

  94. 06/09 14:08

    Greek government has two goals: protecting public health and restoring public life

  95. 06/09 13:16

    French aerobatic team flies in formation using Greek colours above Athens Acropolis

  96. 06/09 12:05

    Strong winds disrupt some ferry lines in the Aegean Sea of Greece

  97. 06/09 11:11

    UNWTO: Africa's tourism chiefs identify investments as key to sustainable recovery

  98. 05/09 22:12

    Cyprus announces that August of 2021 was hottest month on record since 1983

  99. 03/09 22:22

    IATA: European travel rules confusion wasting advantages of Digital Covid Certificate

  100. 02/09 19:14

    Greece records 2,840 new Covid-19 cases and 33 fatalities on Thursday