Many wonder why and how monks can live a longer and healthier life, compared with the people of the world outside of Mount Athos.
The causes of this phenomenon were studied by various medical teams from universities around the globe – however, they discovered only the scientific causes as a result of a very good program of fasting and a very healthy diet.
Indeed, the program of fasting was established by the God-bearer fathers and in addition to the the fact that God himself spoke through them, this program has been verified during thousands of years of practice.
The diet is prepared based on the ascetic system of values – that is monks do not seek the pleasure of food, but the need to have clarity of mind and readiness of body to pray and help the others.
Besides these scientific causes, there are also spiritual elements which are involved:
The most important one is the blessing and prayer before and after the meal. This helps immensely by driving away the demonic energy which can act during the meal through thoughts, pleasure etc.
Another very important factor is that the food made through obedience, peace and prayer. When we argue and fight about food, when we try to impose our preferences and when we have dark thoughts while we prepare the meal, the outcome will be similar.
Unfortunately such aspects are ignored today but they are in fact very important and the results demonstrate that the above things are true.
The following photos depict the spiritual preparation of the meal for a large feast of the monastery.