Their day starts and finishes with a pray and the never stop pursuit spiritual uplift.
The monks in Mount Athos, on the rocky and remote Katounakia, struggle through their every day in order to reach deity through the Holy Grace.
They live in a harmoniously functioning society which lives in austerity, so as to drive away mischievious thoughts. In their free time they work performing services which are essential for the continuity of monastic life.
They are fishermen, cooks, tailors and whatever else is needed for the welfare of the community. They also make handicrafts to earn a living in order to cope with their austere nutritional needs.
There, at Katounakia, behind a rock, the picturesque Holy Hermitage of Virgin Mary “AXION ESTI” is situated. The fathers at “AXION ESTI”, in the past years occupied themselves with the incomparable art of painting holy icons. Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis in Greece, the demand for painting holy icons has substantially declined so the monks now deal with other traditional handicrafts due to the very limited land to cultivate.
What they do:
At the monasteries, the monks make crafts of unique beauty:
• Painting of holy icons
• Knitting of komboskini
• Making of incense
• Making handmade wooden stamps for holy bread offer
• Combs of different kinds and paper cutters
• Making handmade homeware, such as:
◦ Making of wooden-framed sunglasses (recently)
The wooden utensils they make are:
– Kitchenware, ladles (deep, shallow, sieved), forks, spoons for eating, cooking spades,
as well as combs of any kind (small-big) and paper cutters.
In this way they have managed to cover basic needs to earn their living. Recently, they have started making wooden-framed sunglasses with great success.
The kinds of wood used, are:
* Wild arbutus, for household utensils, ladles etc (Hard wood, maintaining smooth surface for many years).
*Ario, Pyxari, White Yew, Sklithro (for combs and paper cutters).
*Ario, White Yew, Pyxari, Mythos and African wood, such as:
Pantouk, Vegge, Ebony, Amboura, Azombe, Pallisander and others, for the wooden-framed glasses.
The different kinds of wood, which the monks cut from the blessed forests of Mount Athos, are transported on animals and then crafted accordingly.
In this way, the wood is “transformed” in beautiful and so useful wooden handicraft.