Unity and universe: understanding pilgrimage to Mount Athos


  • René Gothóni University of Helsinki


Pilgrims and pilgrimages -- Christianity, Greece, Athos, Mount, Spirituality, Greek language, Sacred space, Monasticism and religious orders, Orthodox Eastern, Monks, Linguistics


Having found the specific universal unity of pilgrimages, namely that pilgrimages are journeys of spiritual transformation, the author began to look more closely at the uniqueness of the content of beliefs embodied in pilgrimages to Mount Athos, particularly with the aim of unfolding the universe of beliefs concealed in the word proskýnima, which is the Greek word for ‘pilgrimage’. Therefore, he shifted his focus from the concept to the word ‘pilgrimage’, denoting the human phenomena of visiting holy and sacred places, persons, mountains, wells and so forth. This article illustrates how our preconceptions of the word ‘pilgrimage’ determine our conception of the concept or category of ‘pilgrimage’, which again determines our interpretation and understanding of the content of beliefs of this form of human phenomenon. As a by-product this article also displays the process of how our limited horizon of conceiving the concepts and words is extended in parallel with the process of research. The article shows how this horizon determines our leaving out fundamental elements of ‘pilgrimages’  which, in this case, are characteristic of visits to the Holy Mountain of Greece.



How to Cite

Gothóni, R. (2010). Unity and universe: understanding pilgrimage to Mount Athos. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 22, 56–70. https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67362