BLESSING OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF THE PANTOCRATOR
The life of the monks is called angelic because it imitates them angels are the life of prayer, of contemplation of God and the conversation with the Creator and Father is the unrestrained and restless life, the lasting thanksgiving and praise of God. At the same time, however, the life of the monks is society and human relations. Society with God acts and sanctifies human society but also natural environment. Mount Athos is a tangible example of this combination. The pilgrim is impressed by the ancient building complexes, the Katholikon, the Bank, the towers and the arsenades, in harmony with nature and the rich vegetation of the place. The material world is intertwined with the spiritual without rivalry. Here are great saints and ascetics, and at the same time owners and renovators. The founding olive grove that surrounds our Monastery is a living and eloquent witness of the efforts and struggle of the founders and later monks to ensure the Monastery the possibility and material means for its survival.
We have the responsibility for the preservation of what our previous generations bequeathed to us, its rebirth and renovation. In our effort to preserve our centuries-old olive grove, and then transform it into a model olive grove, which will combine traditional cultivation with innovation and respect for the natural environment, we could not find a better helper from the company "Olive Branch And its collaborators, who have the experience and know-how to scientifically record, document and highlight the treasure that our fathers bequeathed to us. We are grateful to all those who support our effort, wishing you the best of luck in replying to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Gerontissa.
The Professor of the Holy Monastery Pantokrator
Archim. Gabriel and my brothers in Christ
On Mount Athos in the last thirty years or so there has been an intense activity in the maintenance and renovation of the building infrastructure of the monastic buildings and the wealth of relics and holy shrines that have been preserved there for more than a thousand years. Young monks have now settled from many parts of the world, living the Orthodox monastic life in the 'Lighthouse of Orthodoxy'. Agricultural life is an important part of the monastic life and experience that has coexisted parallel and simultaneously since the foundation of the monasteries on Mount Athos until today and is evidenced by the hereditary olive trees whose approximate dating proves that they date back to this distant past. The olive groves, interwoven with the Orthodox devotional life, alongside the monasteries, are separate pieces in the mosaic of unique nature, surrounded by human interventions, they are inseparable and uninterrupted throughout the centuries...
The object of our project is the regeneration of the age-old olive grove of the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator of Mount Athos and its transformation into a model olive grove that will combine traditional cultivation with innovation and respect for the natural environment.
So the time of the olive groves has come. Their preservation is imperative as a subset of the total and natural wealth of the ark of Orthodoxy of Mount Athos, taking into consideration the specificifity and characteristics of tradition and innovation whose roots lie in the epoch of St. Athanasius of Athos.
Barskij was a traveler and during his visit in 1744 he depicted the olive grove of the monastery from where it seems that olive cultivation was in full swing.
Perennial olive trees - relics with large-calibre trunks, carved by the sculptor of time, bear witness to their uninterrupted cultivation, until today, which, breathing the efforts and prayers of the monks, continue to produce olive oil. The olive grove extends amphitheatrically along the colline following the peculiar morphology of the terrain, winding over the topography between the folds and creases of the landscape. On the deep and steep slopes of the terrain, the over-aged olive trees sink their roots into the terraces, which are adorned with beautiful stone terraces and walls. The olive grove is crossed by three of the most beautiful paths of Mount Athos, to the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, to the Holy Skete of Prophet Elias and to the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita. The pure, unspoiled, pristine nature with its great biodiversity, often endemic, indelibly decorates the view of the olive grove with colours from its exuberant palette, between the deep blue sea and the blue sky. It is bathed in the light and colour of the Aegean Sea. The olive trees in the peaceful landscape play with the sea and mountain air on the upper slopes of the land. The varieties that make it up are unknown which over time have adapted and survived until the modern renaissance of the olive grove which has just begun, producing to this day a high quality olive oil with valuable characteristics.
Each olive tree of the olive grove is a special microcosm, which, worked by hand, and the hand of love and prayer, transforms into content, substance and aroma in its olive oil. Thus, a series of actions will be carried out alongside the cultivation of the olives, concerning the individual elements of this microcosm.
All the actions mentioned above as well as other ones will be in cooperation with qualified scientists and universities at home and abroad and other relevant institutions.