The Saints of the Orthodox Church are living examples of human nature transfigured by Divinity. Breathing forth a common spiritual fragrance of otherworldliness, humble sobriety and love, they are also intensely individual, their individuality being ever more heightened and refined as they draw nearer to their Creator.
Mount Athos, a peninsula in northern Greece, is the world's only monastic republic. For more than a thousand years it has been inhabited and ruled only by monks, setting the tone of Orthodox Christian spirituality worldwide and producing a continuous stream of Saints. Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos describes the lives and spiritual portraits of 10 Athonite elders of this century, who, although not formally canonised, are clearly seen to be in the spirit of the Christian Saints since the time of the Apostles. Differing greatly from each other in their backgrounds, characters and ways of life - some were hermits, others members of large communities, yet others abbots and renowned spiritual fathers - they all bear the evident seal of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, testifying to a troubled world that the purpose of man's existence is union with God. The author, Archimandrite Cherubim Karambelas (+1979), lived on Mount Athos in his youth and searched out first-hand sources and living witnesses for his information on these elders.
Author: Archimandrite Cherubim Karambelas