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The formation of an ecumenical electronic library dedicated to Mount Athos

ATHONITE LIBRARY
Tradition and Future

The philosophy: Our knowing the truth about our past is a basic perquisite for impacting on our future direction. The truth about our past is conceived through the tradition. Our futures quality is depended on the degree of our assimilating of the past. But what if our tradition has been interrupted or fell into disuse? The way leading to the revival of the tradition is a rough one. However, thanks to the providential help we have implemented satisfactory research projects respecting the knowledge and the activities of our fathers. The next step is to diffuse our findings. The background: In its long life, Simonopetra Monastery developed many-fold activities in various spiritual and cultural fields. During the last forty years, in the specific and changing conditions of the modern era, a broad and adequately staffed effort towards the survival, the preservations and the diffusion of the Athonite memory gave fruits under the auspice of the Monastery. These efforts included various fields (specialised publications, old photographs collection and documentation, paintings, engravings, old maps, old chanting, old films, and natural environment) and were expressed through various means (recordings, documentation, films, publications and exhibitions). Significant collections have already been formed concerning these topics. Some of these thematic collections are considered to be among the best of their kind in a global level. They are partly presented through the Monasterys web page <athosmemory.com>. Besides, old and new works in every language have been collected in the Monasterys library, thanks to its spiritual interests and the developed communication. The need to create effective means: For a number of centuries, Mount Athos has been a spiritual light-house of the humanity. There is a universal and obvious need to know the huge heritage of Mount Athos; on the other hand, the work of collecting the relevant testimonies is also a huge one. The advance of this work will affect the efforts for communication and deeper acquaintance between Orthodox peoples, Christian confessions, and religions. But how the Mount Athos past, the Athonite personalities and their works and writings will be broadly known? The first sep towards this goal is to detect and collect the relevant international bibliography. There are a very large number of

books, articles and papers which have not been recorded yet and consequently remain unknown or unclassified. The bibliographical index compiled 50 years ago by () Irne Doens, reprinted in 2001 by The Mount Athos Library and characterized as a classic tool for researching every Athonite aspect, was the first step towards this goal, seemingly a very small step regarding the huge number of the still dormant titles (because of the languages they were written in) or unregistered new books and papers regarding Mount Athos (being published in a weekly rate of one or two).

The formation of the Athonite Library: The great gap to be filled is an ecumenical electronic library, regardless of any distinctions based on language, nationality and country, which will be a global axis of reference concerning Mount Athos. This library will offer without charge: (i) texts of the older and inaccessible publications (biographies of saints and noted virtuous monks, and their writings; pilgrimage guides and travel itineraries etc); (ii) analytical bibliographical information about the new publications; (iii) translated books or excerpts of books written in inaccessible languages; (iv) modern academic papers, already accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals; (v) visual exhibition of collections regarding Mount Athos, like photographic collections (dated mid-19th to mid 20th centuries), artistic works, old maps, music archives, old films and natural environment elements. Most of this material is already collected following our efforts. Being housed on Mount Athos and based on our forty-year experience, adequate specialists, infrastructure and equipment, the venture will be globally accepted. Network is really global. Consequently, the participants may address to the global public the biblical words: Draw ye therefore water with joy out of the wells of salvation (Esaias 12:3).