The Holy Mountain, Sacred Art and Progress

Our library additions this month include an audio lecture by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, “Fifty-four Years as an Athonite Pilgrim”, with reflections and anecdotes of Mount Athos, “the Holy Mountain” (Agion Oros), about nature, silence and the importance of monastic life.

The primary task of the monk is prayer, not just intercessory prayer, but prayer in itself, all prayer, and this has value in itself. Today, as in the past, the Holy Mountain is supporting the outside world by acting as a powerhouse of living prayer… We may think of the monks as sentries, watchmen on the walls of the spiritual city, and because of them the inhabitants of the city within the walls are able to continue their lives in greater peace and security. How do the monks guard the walls? Through prayer, this is how the monks help the world: not actively, but existentially.

• In another audio lecture, “What is Sacred Art and does it have a place in the world today?”, Emma Clark shares reflections and insights from her years of experience as a teacher and student of sacred and traditional art.

What is tourism if not a disguised pilgrimage, a journey to the heart? if the traveller only knew!

• And in a remarkable chapter, “Progress in Retrospect”, renowned physicist Wolfgang Smith breaks through the barrier of scientistic belief to speak of a new and traditional science of the cosmos that includes transcendence and speaks to man as a whole.

Strange as it may sound, the traditional artist works not so much in time as in eternity. His art partakes somehow of the instantaneous ‘now’; and this explains its freshness, the conspicuous unity and animation of its productions. No matter how long it may take to fashion the external artefact, the work has been consummated internally in a trice, at a single stroke […] It follows from these considerations that there is a profound spiritual significance both in the enjoyment and in the practice of authentic art.