View of a typical monastic settlement on Mount Athos.
It is hidden away in a dense forest, in a peaceful area conducive to prayer and spiritual development. A person must live like an exile from this world in order to advance spiritually. And what characterizes a spiritual exile? Modest behavior, a reserved wisdom, unrecognized prudence, invisible good intentions, unseen prayer and meditation, acceptance of humiliations, an embracing of hardships, a consistent determination to love God, an abundance of charity, renunciation of vainglory, and a profound desire to keep silent.
Based on Saint John of the Ladder
In the photo, a view of the Skete of Saint Demetrios, which was originally built by descendants of the saint around the ninth century. Initially it was a small monastery called the Monastery of Chalcheos. Seven or eight hundred years later it became what it is today – the Skete of Saint Demetrios.