A Brief Respite: Nikos Kazantzakis on Mt.Athos

by James Miller

As the thick reinforced door shuts behind me, closing out the secular world, I listen to the silence and breathe in the smell of pine and ocean. The sun has just extinguished itself into the sea and the warm night settles down on the monastery like a smooth blanket. I am on the Holy Mount, and am anxious to begin writing. Mt. Athos juts out like a crooked finger into the azure Aegean from the Greek mainland. It is home to twenty ruling monasteries and some 2,000 monks. Considered to be the Virgin Mary's private garden, no other women are allowed to step foot upon its shores....

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