Only men are allowed to visit Mount Athos. This tradition has existed since the middle of the 5th century, when the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius the Great, Placidia, brought rich offerings to Mount Athos, but was not allowed into one of the monasteries. A voice that came from an icon of the Mother of God ordered that women, including Placidia, never visit Mount Athos again. Later this order was confirmed by royal decrees and is strictly observed to this day.
Access to Mount Athos is limited and controlled because it has the status of a separate monastic community. To be allowed, one must obtain a document similar to a visa - “diamonitirion” (visitor’s permit).
The word ΔΙΑΜΟΝΗΤΗΡΙΟΝ comes from the Greek word ΔΙΑΜΟΝΗ, which means “residence, stay.”
Diamonitirion is the principal document that gives you the right to visit the Holy Mountain of Athos. Without it, you won’t be able to board the ships or any other water transport, as the checking procedure takes place on the shore by the representatives of the Marine Police and the Mount Athos Pilgrim’s Office in Ouranoupoli.
Diamonitirion gives the right not only to enter Mount Athos, but also to spend the night in a monastery, so it comes in two types. There are two types of the Diamonitirio:
The first and the most privileged is called ΓΕΝΙΚΟΝ (GENIKON) - general permit to Athos. These visas are given to pilgrims in a limited quantity, directly by the Holy Epistasia, executive authority of Mount Athos’ Community. A total of 130 diamonitirios are allowed to be issued per day: 100 for Greek citizens and 30 for citizens of other countries of the Orthodox faith. Applications from representatives of other religions/Christian confessions wishing to travel to Mount Athos are considered individually.
The holder of a diamonitirion of the type ΓΕΝΙΚΟΝ has the right to ask for an overnight stay in any monastery.
E-mail address for request - firstname.lastname@example.org
The second type of diamonitirion is called ΕΙΔΙΚΟΝ (IDIKON) - invitation to a certain monastery. This type of diamonitirion may be issued by the monasteries in unlimited quantities each day; however, they imply the obligation to provide overnight accommodation for the pilgrims. According to the rules of the Holy Epistasia of Mount Athos, a monastery can refuse overnight accommodation to a pilgrim who has presented an invitation of another monastery.
The duration of your stay is four days (3 nights), while in each monastery one day. After this period, you will not be accommodated for the night.