DXpedition to Mt. Athos? No YL’s need apply

athosMount Athos must be the most controversial entity on the list and, the more I learn about its history, the odder (and more interesting) it becomes.

Monk Apollo, the entity’s only op, is now the proud owner of a new Steppir Yagi but it’s unclear if anyone other than he will ever get to use it.

Tact says we should not combine religion with radio – that to do so only invites discord. But with Mount Athos’ existence being purely religious in nature – and being on the DXCC list – that combination is pre-made for us and is therefore a fitting subject.

No women!

No women!

I know of a handful of YL DXers who have gone on multiple DXpeditions. They will not be welcome to any DXpedition that might take place from SV/A. For over 1000 years, women have not been allowed there as they may tempt the monks with their “natural charms”.

And none of this, guys!

And none of this, guys!

(In a recent blog entry, Paul N6PSE states that on Mount Athos “men must not stand with their hands clasped behind their back”).

The second reason given for this gender exclusion is that Mount Athos was a gift of God to the Virgin Mary and that no female other than she shall set foot on the island. And “female” excludes cows, chickens, sows and ewes.  It was conceded that female songbirds and insects were allowed to remain because it was impossible to keep them out. It’s unclear exactly how plausible the danger of a chicken outshining the Virgin Mary is, but rule’s a rule.


Maryse Choisy

Despite the gender ban, there have been a number of (human) females on Mount Athos:

  • Alexia Amvrazi disguises herself as a man and travels to Mount Athos.
  • The monks harbored women and female children during the Greek civil war.
  • In 2008, Ukrainian smugglers dropped four Moldovan women on the coast of Mount Athos. They were quickly apprehended by monks and police.
  • Maryse Choisy, a French writer, underwent a double mastectomy in order to sneak into the monastic republic and pose as a servant boy for a month. She later wrote a book about her time there – A Month Among the Men. In it, she describes having to fend off the advances of one of the monks. (Interestingly, her previous book was A Month With the Girls, researched by spending a month living in a whorehouse).

Recently, “due to our daily needs”, Mount Athos loosened up a bit, allowing chickens. “Ultimately, our breakfast has eggs laid by hens” Baslidos Monastery abbot said happily.

I guess there’s hope yet, YL’s.


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  1 comment for “DXpedition to Mt. Athos? No YL’s need apply

  1. August 11, 2014 at 6:56 am

    A letter from Monk Apollo to the ARRL regarding a brief operation by DJ6SI in 1991(?):

    630-87, MOUNT ATHOS CT 06111

    July 1, 1992

    Dear Sirs,

    I did send you, a long time ago, a letter with all the
    official papers in which I prove that the transmissions of the
    German radio amateur BALDUR DROBNICA (DJ6SI) from Mount Athos
    were illegal. Unfortunatelly, until now I did not receive any
    regular reply from you.
    DJ6SI, who overall illegally imported his transceivers in
    Mount Athos, instead of understanding his mistake and ask for
    apology, because he challenges an international scandal, he
    continues his acts, with the same slyness.
    The last act was to write an article in QST, probably the most
    official magazine, which was published together with a photo
    showing the cell in which he was hospitalized. The photo pictures
    him and a monk (named Damaskinos), aside the bells of the cell.
    The monk sent a letter to QST and me. I enclose a photocopy of
    that letter to you.
    In other articles that were published, DJ6SI mentions about
    the CEPT Licence, but he is not telling the truth; he explains
    the rules of CEPT LICENCE, the way that fits his purposes!
    I asked the European Community (E.E.C.) to send a copy of this
    licence to me. I posted you a photocopy, in order to show you
    which is the truth and which is DJ6SI’s false point of view.

    Dear Sirs,
    All the official papers relative to the subject are registered
    in the files that the HOLY COMMUNITY OF MOUNT ATHOS, the GREEK
    keep, as they are waiting for the last fair solution, that you
    will finally cancel those transmissions DJ6SI made from Mount
    The Holy Community, with which I’m in continue contact, is
    very irritated and disappointed with the handling of the problem
    and informed me that they decided, that in the future they will
    not permit to Greeks or foreigners make any transmissions again
    from Mount Athos, except the monks of Mount Athos.
    Persons and events like this, disturb the peace, the
    regularity and the prays in Mount Athos; these things that all
    the people of the World have respected for more than 1000 years
    and will respect forever.
    As a result, give this fair solution, because otherwise you
    will continuate these kind of problems, as many more will try to
    do the same and with the same shifty, mean way, that DJ6SI did.
    Well, in this Holy place anything has to be done with legal
    methods, if we want to have the bless of GOD.
    I want to believe that with the help of GOD’s will, this
    affair will be finished appropriately, if we want to hear Mount
    Athos on the air again.

    With great sorrow

    Monk Apollo

    Anything that was published concerning me and my transmissions
    from Mount Athos till now, is lie. Any true informations that
    will come will be valid only if they have a Greek signature.
    If you don’t cancel the transmission of DJ6SI, you will never
    again hear me on the air. Tnx

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