The historic Iviron monastery on Mount Athos in Northern Greece has recently celebrated one thousands years of religious activity.
SV Monastery tower on Mount Athos TILT DOWN TO Orthodox priests and crowd in monastery square
SV PAN Priests in gold robes saying prayers
SV Priests in black robes
SV Bishops lead off procession including people carrying icons and carvings (2 shots)
SV Precession of priests with one priest tapping a length of wood with a wooden mallet
TV Procession moving through street ZOOM INTO dignitaries following procession
GV PAN Monastery and square (2 SHOTS)
SV Monastery seen through archway (2 SHOTS)
SV Monastery towers (2 SHOTS)
GV Tree-lined square (2 SHOTS)
CU INTERIOR. Men placing beads on religious tapestry
SV PAN Detailed art work on roof of monastery room (2 SHOTS)
CU PULL BACK TO GV Art work on wall
SV EXTERIOR Buildings surrounding tree-lined square (3SHOTS)
GV Old priest walking on crutches
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Background: The historic Iviron monastery on Mount Athos in Northern Greece has recently celebrated one thousands years of religious activity. A special ceremony was held on the secluded promontory to mark the occasion.
SYNOPSIS; Russian orthodox priests from Georgia built the monastery in 980 A.D., during the region of the Byzantine emperor Basil the second. It is one of twenty religious sanctuaries on Mount Athos.
Mount Athos means 'holy mountain' in Greek, and little has changed over the past 1,000 years. The visiting government ministers, professors, religious officials and prelates could hardly fail to be impressed by the prevailing atmosphere of peace and devotion. The Iviron monastery paraded its priceless collection of old Byzantine icons and carvings in the procession through the streets. It also renowned for its literary treasures, and has one of the oldest and most important religious libraries in Greece.
The anniversary ceremony was full of colourful, time-honoured rituals. But there was one unusual aspect to the crowd which thronged into Mount Athos for the celebration - they were all men. In the year 1060 a low was introduced which banned women and female animals from the 'holy mountain', and it is still in operation, The Iviron monastery and its surroundings remain an all-male preserve.
Mount Athos is a self-governing religious community. Hermits inhabited the area before organized monastic life began, and it was early Christian, St. Athanasius, who founded the first monastery in the year 963. With the help of Byzantine imperial patrons, the monks overcame the hermits' opposition to organised monasteries.
The monks of today maintain the elaborate Orthodox traditions. Also carefully preserved is the collection of Byzantine art - Mount Athos houses some of the finest treasures of that civilisation.
The practices of fasting and religious discipline are also strictly observed as they have been since Byzantine Emperor John the first granted Mount Athos its first charter. The libraries hold classic and medieval manuscripts recording the articles of the Byzantine faith. A perfect represents the Greek government on the promontory but the real administration is in hands of the seemingly ageless holy community.