ATHOS - Monastic life on the
Finland has the unique opportunity to present treasures from
the legendary Mount Athos for the first time outside of Greece.
A major exhibition of Byzantine art at Art Museum Tennis Palace,
Athos - Monastic Life on the Holy Mountain contains
Orthodox sacral objects and art from a period spanning more
than a thousand years. A monastic community with a long and
fascinating history, Mount Athos is still a vibrant community
Mount Athos is an orthodox monastic republic in Macedonia
in northern Greece, with a population of 2000 monks living
in 20 monasteries. The oldest monastery was founded in 963,
but the history of Mount Athos goes back much further. It
has played an unequalled role in fostering and preserving
Byzantine culture. Only male pilgrims are allowed to travel
to Athos and even they must obtain a special visa.
In recent years, the monastic community of Mount Athos has
attracted increasing international interest. Museums want
to exhibit its art treasures and more and more men want to
go on pilgrimages or become monks.
The exhibition will present past and present life on Mount
Athos. It will contain more than 600 items, including centuries-old
precious icons, rare manuscripts, unique sacral objects, magnificent
textiles, wood engravings and other works of art such as jewellery,
crosses, maps, photographs and paintings. A third of the objects
are from nine Athonite monasteries, and in addition, there
are loans from 15 European museums.
The exhibition has been designed to create a monastery-like
space where visitors can experience Orthodox spirituality.
They can also learn about the 1000 years of history and present
of Mount Athos, its daily life and festivities, and the role
of the monastic community as a guardian of Byzantine culture.
The exhibition will be of special interest to Finns. While
just over 1 per cent of Finns are Orthodox Christians, the
Orthodox Church has had a strong influence in Finnish history
and culture. The Orthodox Church has official status in Finland,
the only EU Member State in addition to Greece and Cyprus.
The exhibition will have a varied programme of events offering
memorable experiences and information to visitors of all ages.
It will include icon-painting courses, demonstrations, workshops,
concerts and lectures. A comprehensive book on life on Mount
Athos and its art treasures will be published in conjunction
with the exhibition.
The exhibition was arranged by the Helsinki City Art Museum,
and curated by Museum Director Berndt Arell. Coordination
was managed by Curator Mikko Oranen. The exhibition was designed
by scenographer Ralf Forsström.
Works have been lent by:
Greece, nine monasteries on Mount Athos: Iviron, Dionisiou,
Pantokrator, Simonopetra, St Paul´s, Stavronikita, Xenophontos,
Grigoriou and Esphigmenou. Greece: the Ministry of Culture,
the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki.
Russia: the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Historical
Museum, the Andrey Rublev Museum, the Sergiev Posad Museum,
the Russian State Archives, the Hermitage Museum and the State
Russian Museum. Cyprus: the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation.
Serbia: the National Museum, the Museum of Applied Art. Germany:
the Ikonen-Museum Recklinghausen, the Museum for Prehistoric
and Early History, Munich.
We want to thank the following for their collaboration
Greece: the Holy Community of Mount Athos,
the Ministry of Culture, Kedak, the Athonite Centre and the
Embassy of Finland in Greece. Finland: the
Ministry of Education, the Embassy of Greece in Finland, the
Orthodox Church of Finland, Pyhän Athosvuoren Ystävät
ry (Friends of the Holy Mount Athos), and the Department of
Comparative Religion of the University of Helsinki.
And: the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation and
the A.G.Leventis Foundation, the J.F Costopoulos Foundation.
Museum Director Berndt Arell
tel. +358 (0)9 310 87008, mobile +358 (0)50 341 6522
Curator Mikko Oranen
tel. +358 (0)9 310 87011, mobile +358 (0)50 345 8537
Educational Curator Arja Miller
tel. +358 (0)9 310 87007, mobile +358 (0)50 336 1980
Press Officer Karri Buchert
tel. +358 (0)9 310 87004, mobile +358 (0)50 304 6707
Guided tours: Guided tours free of charge
in Finnish on Wednesdays at 18.00, and on Saturdays and Sundays
at 14.00, in Swedish on the first and third Sunday of every
month at 15.00, in English on the second Sunday of every month
at 15.00, and in Russian on the first Sunday of every month
at 15.00. To book a private tour, please call +358 (0)9 310
Art Museum Tennis Palace
Salomonkatu 15, 00100 Helsinki
Open: Tue-Sun 11–20.30
Tel. +358 (0)9 310 87001
Admission: 7/5 euros, under 18 years free of charge
Free admission on Fridays