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Preservation of American Hellenic History

Photographic Chronicle, Mt. Athos

Information on-line


In the early 1960s, many in Greece were predicting that over a thousand years of monastic history would come to an end. From a high of 7,000 in 1903, the population of the Monastic Republic of Mt. Athos, Greece had shrunk to about 1,490 by 1965, the result of waves of political upheaval in the region and fewer men choosing the path to becoming monks.

In 1972 at the age of 53, Professor Douglas Lyttle, now emeritus, of the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, who was motivated largely by curiosity and the opportunity to make photographs in an unusual place, made the first of what grew into 22 extended visits to the Holy Mountain as he was drawn back again and again by a powerful sense of spirituality and an unfolding story of the reawakening and renewal of monastic life.

Over a period of thirty years, Lyttle not only photographed and documented the numerous monasteries and the essence of Christian Orthodox monastic life, he grew to be accepted and welcomed by the monks as brother and friend wherever he went, allowing him to witness and participate in the Holy Mountain's "unexpected and marvelous reawakening and renewal." From over 50,000 images, he has assembled 655 of the best along with text from diaries, letters and memories to publish Miracle on the Monastery Mountain.

More information on the book can be found at:


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