Despite Reports Mount Athos Avaton Not Repealed


Greek Newspaper “Orthodoxos Typos,” recently reported that the World Council of Churches (WCC) decided the repeal of Mount Athos avaton, allowing women to visit the holy area, during its latest convention in Busan, South Korea.

The newspaper wrote that during the convention, 16 agreements between Christian churches were signed, of which three (7th, 8th and 16th) refer to Mount Athos in Chalkidiki, northern Greece. “The 16th agreement refers to the repeal of the avaton in Mount Athos and in other places of the world.”

Not True
However WCC in an email to Greek Reporter states that the report is simply not true.

“No WCC governing body has requested that the ban on women entering Mount Athos be repealed, not the Assembly which met in Busan, Korea, in 2013, not the WCC Executive Committee that has met twice since then, and not the Central Committee which met recently in July,” said WCC Director of Communication Mark Beach.

“The WCC would not be involved in national church decisions,” he added.

The World Council of Churches  is an ecumenical Christian organization aiming to promote Christian unity. It is consisted of 340 churches, of which 157 are members, representing over 550 million Christians in over 100 countries.

The WCC was founded on August 23, 1948. Its founding members include the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus.

It includes Orthodox as well as Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal churches. The Roman Catholic Church, although not a church-member, cooperates closely with the WCC.

The Avaton
For more than 1,000 years women have been banned from entering Mount Athos. Many Orthodox women have protested against the ban saying that it is their right to visit the monastery.  A European Parliament Resolution in 2003 criticized the ban as a violation of sexual equality and citizens’ religious freedom.

The response of Mount Athos Governor

The Civil Governor of Mount Athos, Aristos Kasmiroglou responded: “Mount Athos belongs to its residents and no one can enter without their permission, let alone change their rules,” pointing out that the avaton is not regulated by international conventions.


  1. Only the Orthodox Church can consider such matters, NOT the useless European Union and not foreign religious bodies.

  2. The European Union only considers civil laws and like idiot ignore cultural laws.

  3. Sounds like heterodox propaganda to me. I wonder why people who don’t even like the Orthodox Church or even bother to show up for Liturgy are so overly concerned about what happens at Mt. Athos. Also, I question the statement in the article that says “many” Orthodox women have protested the Avaton. The truly pious Orthodox Christian woman RESPECTS the monks at Mt Athos and wouldn’t want to impose herself where she is clearly not wanted. There are plenty of women’s monasteries that she can visit if she really wants a spiritual experience. It doesn’t have to be at the one monastery that happens to get a lot of media attention. That’s the wrong motivation. Sometimes I wonder if this push to lift the Avaton is more about coveting the land and trying to get it so they can gain revenue. Finally, people should consider this if the avaton is lifted then that means men will be allowed to visit the female monasteries and convents, and you know doggoe well that will NOT go over with the women who reside there. Do you really want a bunch of hairy sexually deprived monks showing up where the nuns are at? I say leave the tradition alone.

  4. This is about government meddling in worship in this case their surrogate WCC is flexing it’s muscle to control everything including our religion. Who these people to tell the Orthodox Church what is can and cannot do? In many rural Orthodox Churches there are no pews to sit everyone stands and women are expected to stand in the back of the church. That seems to have been overlooked in this supposed synod of multiculturalism. God help them and give them guidance.

  5. You’re ignorant enough to express an opinion without knowing the facts: EU treaties guarantee the status of Athos making special reference to it. Look things up before speaking up. And the WCC has nothing to do with the EU.

  6. Actually, it’s not women in the back of the church. The old tradition was for women to stand to the left and men to the right. This is still practice in some areas, but not much.

  7. the last true traditional christian place on earth and they intervene and try to corrupt it with secular/ideological bullshit.greece’s church will never be catholic style servant of the state “christians”.