2085 – Women who ignored the avaton

on the tourist boat looking at Panteleimon

 In early legal documents (in the years 970 and 1045) the exclusion of women is implied but it is never specifically stated. According to Graham Speake in his book Renewal in Paradise the principle of Avaton was so well established, so widely understood that there was no need to spell it out. In 1924 the prohibition of women had been officially stated. In Greek law any woman who sets foot on Athos will receive a prison sentence of between 2 and 12 months.

Here are some women who did enter the Holy Mountain (or not?):

Galla Placidia

The first violation of the Avaton  was , according to the legend, Galla Placidia in the 5th century. She was the daughter of Emperor Theodosius I. When she entered the church of Vatopedi she heard a voice from an icon saying: “Stop! Come no closer, for another queen then you reigns here”.

on the right Helena of Bulgaria

Helena of Bulgaria the wife of Serbian Emperor Stefan Dusan in 1345. She went to Athos to protect her from the plague, but she did not touch the ground during her entire visit, as she was carried in a hand carriage all the time.

Aliki Diplarakou, a Greek “Miss Europe” entered Athos dressed as a man in 1930. Her story was later featured in Time Magazine on 13 July 1953, in an article titled “The Climax of Sin”.

Maryse Choisy

In 1931 by French journalist Maryse Choisy, who disguised herself as a sailor.

She wrote about her experience in a book entitled “One Month With Men”.

A clearly manipulated image of Maryse Choisy, dressed as a man, in the streets of Karyes. Did she made everything up or did she really stayed a month on The Holy Mountain?

The first photograph of this post and this one, I made while being on the tourist boat in 2018 where many women take the opportunity to get an impression of the peninsula and its monasteries.

Herman Voogd

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3 Responses to 2085 – Women who ignored the avaton

  1. Japetus says:

    The incidents must have been a lot more, many of them never surfaced.
    See: http://banksnews.gr/who-was-the-mystery-woman-who-broke-the-female-ban-on-mount-athos/ for another list.
    Besides this list, at a previous post of yours, there is evidence that a woman, member of a Ju-57 luftwaffe sea plane went ashore Athos coast during wwii.
    At his book ‘A journey in the shadow of Byzantium’, William Dalrymple writes that he has letters written by a victorian distant aunt of his named Virginia Somers, who states that she stayed two months there (among the company of two men).
    Mass violations of the avaton occured during wwii when fleeing villagers seeked refuge together with their flocks inside the peninsula. There’s evidence that at least one birth occured during that time inside Athos, the first ever..
    Last recorded evidence was around 10 years ago, when a smuggler disembarked four Moldavian women near Lavra and abandoned them there..

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