Monastic life and natural environment

The orthodox monastic life is characterised by temperance, careful use of goods of nature and tenderness for nature conservation. The ultimate criteria for the use of natural resources is the symmetry between the needs and the use of goods, time and space and the preservation of spiritual peace. The limits of monastic life should serve nature conservation.

To accomplish the above there are written rules dating back to the foundation of the monastic community of Mount Athos, rules that clearly prohibit all actions that can alter the balance of nature.

Forest management is not an exception. Since 972 AD there is a very strict rule which limits the commerce of wood while later on other rules allowed for the exploitation of forests only for the needs of the Holy Monasteries.

Today, despite the great needs of the Holy Monasteries, the monks, following the tradition of the monastic community for “order” and “sustainability”, manage the forests with great respect and love for nature, using the knowledge of the elder monks as long as methods and techniques proposed by modern science.