Laws of the MR I
THE LEGAL CODE OF THE SERENE MONASTIC REPUBLIC OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the Monastic Republic. It is divided by broad subjects into 43 titles and published by the office of the Protos Seneschal of the Holy Synod. The Monastic Republic Code is published every five years. In between these quinquennial editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information.
- The Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain (η Γαληνότατη Μοναστική Δημοκρατία Αγίου Όρους) is the full name of the sovereign nation, abbreviated as SMRHM (ΓΜΔΑΟ).
- The Monastic Republic (η Μοναστική Δημοκρατία) is the shortened name of the sovereign nation, abbreviated as MR (ΜΔ).
- Mount Athos (Όρος Άθως) is the name of the mountain at the end of the peninsula.
- The Holy Mountain (το Άγιον Όρος) is the name of the restricted territory which is the location of the monasteries.
- The Lowland (η Βραχάρουπα) is the name of the land between the Holy Mountain and the border with Greece.
- The Isles (οι Νήσοι) is the name of the several islands and islets that lie in the Aegean Sea to the west of the mainland portion of the Monastic Republic.
- Amoulián (Αμουλιάν) is the name of the largest of the islands.
- The Islets (τα Νησάκια) is the collective name of the small uninhabited islets near Amoulián.
TITLE ONE – SOVEREIGNTY
TITLE TWO – THE ARCHIMANDRITE
Public Law No. 2 [Duties of the Archimandrite Act (To Νομοσχέδιο Αρχιμανδρήτης)] (11/7/1871)
- §1 The executive power of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain is vested in the Archimandrite.
- §2 The Archimandrite shall be appointed from the Hegumens (εγούμενοι) of the Autocephalous Orthodox Faith of the Holy Mountain at the Advent meeting in a rotation determined by the seniority of the monasteries for a term of four years.
- §3 The newly elected Archimandrite shall be ordained a bishop during the Divine Liturgy by the outgoing Archimandrite at the Advent meeting.
- §4 After his ordination the new Archimandrite shall take his oath in the presence of the other nineteen Hegumens and Abbots who shall affirm their acceptance of his leadership by applause.
- §5 Every Archimandrite shall declare orally upon his honor and dignity the following oath: “I swear by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to observe the Constitution of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain and its other laws, and to observe the independence and the territorial integrity of this Serene Monastic Republic.” He shall then sign his name to this oath.
- §6 This oath shall be administered to the new Archimandrite during the Divine Liturgy by the outgoing Archimandrite and witnessed by the signatures of the nineteen Hegumens and Abbots.
- §7 Should the office of Archimandrite become vacant before the end of the term, the Hegumen next in the order of rotation shall be sworn in and begin his four-year term.
- §8 The Archimandrite shall draw up any treaties to be presented to the Holy Synod for approval.
- §9 The Archimandrite shall represent the Monastic Republic in all its relations with foreign nations.
- §10 The Archimandrite shall accredit apocrisiaries (αποκρισάριος) of the Monastic Republic to foreign nations. Foreign envoys shall present their credentials to the Archimandrite.
- §11 The Archimandrite shall provide protection and assistance to citizens living or traveling abroad.
- §12 The Archimandrite shall assist businesses of the Monastic Republic in the international marketplace.
- §13 The Archimandrite shall coordinate and provide support for international activities of other Government agencies, official visits overseas and at home, and other diplomatic efforts.
- §14 The Archimandrite shall keep the citizens informed about the Monastic Republic’s foreign policy and relations with other nations and provide feedback from the citizens to administration officials.
- §15 The texts of the sovereign resolutions issued on his proposal shall be signed by the Archimandrite personally.
- §16 The Archimandrite shall provide for the Civil Service required for the Government agencies.
- §17 The Archimandrite shall supervise the taking of the quinquennial census.
- §18 The Archimandrite shall monitor the lawful and uninterrupted conduct of business by the Court of Justice and notify the Supreme Tribunal of any irregularities observed.
- §19 Passports shall be issued by the Archimandrite.
- §20 The Archimandrite shall submit an annual report on his official activities to the Holy Synod.
- §21 The Archimandrite shall visit each deme (δήμος) at least quarterly to discuss affairs with the demarchs (δημάρχος) and to listen to the citizens.
TITLE THREE - THE HOLY SYNOD
Public Law No. 1 [The Holy Synod Act (To Νομοσχέδιο της Ιεράς Σύνοδος)] (6/6/1871)
- §1 The legislative power of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain is vested in the Holy Synod, that is, the twenty Hegumens of the Holy Mountain.
- §2 Election of the Hegumens (Ηγούμενος) shall take place according to each monastery’s practice.
- §3 The Holy Synod shall meet on the first Monday through Wednesday of every month, unless those days fall during Holy Week or Easter Week.
- §4 If the monthly meeting of the Holy Synod must be cancelled, it must be rescheduled as soon as possible.
- §5 Each Hegumen may bring with him one or two assistants (ακόλουθος) who, however, may not attend the meeting of the Holy Synod. They shall keep themselves ready should their Hegumen need assistance.
- §6 If a Hegumen is unable to attend a meeting of the Holy Synod, he may appoint a representative (αντιπρόσωπος) with plenary power to attend the meeting. This representative may also bring with him one or two assistants who, however, may not attend the meeting of the Holy Synod. They shall keep themselves ready should their Hegumen need assistance.
- §7 After celebrating the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Synod will meet to discuss and approve of or disapprove of the business of the Monastic Republic at hand.
- §8 Should a Hegumen die during his tenure, an immediate election of a new Hegumen shall be held who shall then take his place on the Holy Synod.
- §9 The twenty monasteries of the Holy Mountain in order of precedence are:
- 1. St. Athanasius (o Άγιος Αθανάσιος)
- 2. Annunciation (η Ευαγγελισμός της Παναγείας)
- 3. St. John the Baptist (o Άγιος Ιωάννης o Προδρόμος)
- 4. Holy Cross (ο Τίμιος Σταυρός)
- 5. Transfiguration of the Lord (η Μεταμόρφωση του Κυρίου)
- 6. Holy Archangels (οι Αγίοι Αρχαγγέλοι)
- 7. Sts. Peter and Paul (οι Αγίοι Πέτρας και Παύλος)
- 8. St. Philotheus (ο Άγιος Φιλοθέος)
- 9. Presentation of the Lord (η Υπαπάντης του Κυρίου)
- 10. St. George (o Άγιος Γεωργιός)
- 11. Theophany (η Αγία Θεοφάνεια)
- 12. Ascension of the Lord (η Ανάληψη του Κυρίου)
- 13. Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (οι Αγίοι Τεσσεράκοντα Μάρτυρες)
- 14. St. George the Painter (o Άγιος Γεωργιός ο Ζωγράφος)
- 15. St. John the Iberian (o Άγιος Ιωάννης o Ίβηρα)
- 16. St. Sava (o Άγιος Σάββας)
- 17. St. Pantaleon (o Άγιος Πανταλήιμον)
- 18. St. Nicholas (o Άγιος Νικόλαoς)
- 19. St. Maroun (o Άγιος Μαρούν)
- 20. St. Thomas (o Άγιος Θωμάς)
Public Law No. 7 [The Hegumens Act] (5/1926)
- §1 The legislative power of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain is vested in the Holy Synod, that is, the twenty hegumens of the Holy Mountain.
- §2 Election of the hegumen takes place according to each monastery’s practice.
- §3 The Holy Synod shall meet on the first Monday of every month.
- §4 If the monthly meeting of the Holy Synod must be cancelled, it must be rescheduled as soon as possible.
- §5 Each hegumen may bring with him one or two assistants who, however, may not attend the meeting of the Holy Synod. They shall keep themselves ready should their hegumen need assistance.
- §6 If a hegumen is unable to attend a meeting of the Holy Synod, he may appoint a representative with plenary power to attend the meeting. This representative may also bring with him one or two assistants who, however, may not attend the meeting of the Holy Synod. They shall keep themselves ready should their hegumen need assistance.
- §7 After celebrating the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Synod will meet to discuss and approve of or disapprove of the business of the Holy Mountain at hand.
- §8 Should a hegumen die during his tenure, an immediate election of a new hegumen shall be held who shall then begin his two-year term on the Holy Synod.
- §9 In this law, the title hegumen refers also to the abbots of the non-Orthodox monasteries.
TITLE FOUR - NATIONAL EMBLEMS
Public Law No. 27 [The National Emblems Act (To Νομοσχέδιο Εθνικών Σύμβολων)] (12/3/1940)
- §1 The coat of arms and the seal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain shall be emblazoned as “White, an equilateral triangle vert surmounted of a Greek cross or; a bordure compony of twenty or and gules, in front of a patriarchal cross; for supporters standing on a compartment of mountains a Zouave proper and a monk proper; all within a robe of estate gules and vert, lined or, surmounted of a Byzantine miter proper.”
- §2 The national colors shall be red, green and gold.
- §3 The flag of the Monastic Republic shall be “White, an equilateral triangle vert surmounted of a Greek cross or; a bordure compony of twenty or and gules," in the ratio of 1:1.
- §4 The maritime ensign shall be the national flag without the cross and surmounted by a silver anchor.
- §5 The flag of any government entity or organization shall consist of the appropriate symbol or symbols within a bordure compony of twenty or and gules.
- The flag of the deme of Aktí shall be white, the cedar of Lebanon proper within a bordure compony of twenty or and gules.
- The flag of the deme of Prosforion shall be per fess bleu celeste and azure, the Byzantine tower proper within a bordure compony of twenty or and gules.
- The flag of the deme of Ammouliani shall be azure, a fish hauriant proper with a hook or in its mouth within a bordure compony of twenty or and gules.
- §6 The Flag shall fly 24 hours a day, regardless of weather, in the plateia of the three demes, in the capital of Karyes, and in the military post of Dafni.
- The flags of the demes shall fly beneath the Flag of the Monastic Republic on their respective plateia flagpoles. These deme flags shall be of a smaller size than the Flag of the Monastic Republic.
- §7 Flag etiquette for the Monastic Republic shall be determined by Law. Infractions of flag etiquette shall be subject to criminal penalties as legislated by Law.
- §8 The aviation roundel shall be the green equilateral triangle surmounted by the golden Greek cross on a white roundel surrounded by a gold circle and then a red circle.
- §9 The National Anthem is Upon This Land.
- §10 The olive blossom (Olea europaea) shall be the national flower of the Monastic Republic.
- §11 The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) shall be the national bird of the Monastic Republic.
Public Law No. 28 [The Flag Code Act (To Νομοσχέδιο Κώδικας Λάβαρος)] (1/7/1941)
This Flag Code Act shall formalize and unify the traditional ways in which respect is given to the flag of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain.
- §1 Specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used.
- a. The flag shall never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
- b. The flag shall not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of green, gold and red stripes is available for these purposes. The green stripe of the bunting shall be on the top.
- c. The flag shall never be used for any advertising purpose. It shall not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs shall not be attached to the staff or halyard.
- d. The flag shall not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, gendarmes and members of patriotic organizations.
- e. The flag shall never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
- f. The flag shall never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- g. When the flag is lowered, no part of it shall touch the ground or any other object; it shall be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it shall be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
- h. The flag shall be cleaned and mended when necessary.
- i. When a flag is so worn that it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the Monastic Republic, it shall be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
- j. A flag no longer fit to serve may be taken to any Gendarmery post for disposal.
- §2 Displaying the Flag Outdoors
- a. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the top point of the triangle shall point away from the building.
- b. When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag, of a state, community, or society, the flag of the Monastic Republic shall always be at the top.
- c. When the flag is displayed over a street or over a sidewalk, it shall be hung horizontally, with the top point of the triangle pointing up.
- d. When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the Monastic Republic shall always be placed in the position of honor, to its own right.
- e. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
- f. No other flag shall ever be placed above it.
- g. The flag of the Monastic Republic is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
- h. When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag shall be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag shall be the same size. They shall be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation shall not be displayed above that of another nation.
- i. Every public building shall display the flag either on a staff projecting from the building or on a flagpole in front of the building.
- j. Every monastery shall display the flag on a flagpole at the entrance to the monastery.
- k. Every vessel licensed in the Monastic Republic shall display the ensign from a staff at the stern of the vessel.
- l. Every aircraft licensed in the Monastic Republic shall display the flag painted on both sides of the fuselage.
- m. The flag shall be displayed 24 hours a day in the center of the plateia of each town.
- n. The flag of the deme, of a smaller size, shall be displayed with the flag in the plateia on the same pole as and under the flag of the Monastic Republic.
- §3 Raising and Lowering the Flag
- a. The flag shall be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.
- b. With the exception of §2m, the flag shall be displayed only between sunrise and sunset.
- c. The flag of the Monastic Republic is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longer.
- §4 Displaying the Flag Indoors
- a. When on display, the flag of the Monastic Republic is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. It shall be placed to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags shall be to the left.
- b. The flag of the Monastic Republic shall be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of nations, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
- c. When one flag is used with the flag of the Monastic Republic and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the Monastic Republic shall be placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
- d. When displaying the flag against a wall horizontally, the top point of the triangle shall be at the top. It shall never be displayed vertically.
- §5 Parading and Saluting the Flag
- When carried in a procession, the flag shall be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the Monastic Republic shall be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all shall face the flag and salute.
- §6 The Salute
- To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.
- §7 The National Anthem
- When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens shall stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.
- §8 The Flag in Mourning
- a. To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag shall be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered.
- b. The flag shall be flown at half staff for eight days in mourning at the death of an archimandrite, incumbent or retired; of a hegumen or abbot, incumbent or retired; and of a demarch, incumbent or retired.
- c. The flag shall be flown at half staff on the Saturday of Meatfare Week, the second Saturday of Great Lent, the third Saturday of Great Lent, and the fourth Saturday of Great Lent
- d. The archimandrite shall also designate other times when the flag is to be flown at half mast.
- e. When used to cover a casket, the upper point of the triangle shall point to the left side of the deceased. It shall not be lowered into the grave, but folded ceremoniously and given to the next of kin.
Public Law No. 35 [The Act of the Order of Beneficence of the Garden of the All-holy (To Νομοσχέδιο tou Τάγμα του Ευποιΐας του Κύπου της Παναγγείας))] (7/6/1976)
- §1 The Order of Beneficence of the Garden of the All-holy is hereby established with one level, that of Member.
- §2 The Order of Beneficence shall be awarded to that citizen, individual or organization; or foreigner, individual or organization, who has made an outstanding contribution to life in the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain in the areas of art, literature, health, or education.
- §3 The incumbent Archimandrite is the Head of the Order of Beneficence of the Garden of the All-holy.
- §4 Nominations for honoree may be made by any citizen to any demarch. The names of those nominated and a detailed description of their contribution shall be forwarded to the Award Commission, which shall consist of three members of the Holy Synod, appointed by the Archimandrite and not to include the members of the Holy Council, and the three demarchs. The Commission shall consider the merits of each nomination. Their recommendations shall be forwarded by August 15 to the Archimandrite who shall announce the names of the honorees for the year.
- §5 The demarch shall present the nomination to the Award Commission (Παραγγελία Βαβείου) without any indication of who the nominee is, what is the nominee's sex, or where the nominee lives.
- §6 The Archimandrite shall anounce and bestow the annual award on September 8 (September 9 if September 8 falls on a Sunday), the Nativity of the Virgin. The awarding shall be for contributions made during the preceding twelve months.
- §7 The awarding of the Order of Beneficence shall be accompanied by a diploma at the top of which is the arms of the Monastic Republic, and on which is related the contribution of the honoree to the life of the Monastic Republic. The diploma is to be dated, signed by the incumbent Archimandrite and sealed with the seal of the Monastic Republic. A sample of this diploma is attached to this public law.
- §8 The badge of the Order of Beneficence shall consist of an enameled green equilateral triangle, apex upward, surmounted of a golden Greek cross, all within a circle compony of gold and red. The whole shall be four centimeters in width. On the right arm of the cross are inscribed the letters MP, on the left ΘΥ.
- §9 The star of the Order of Beneficence shall consist of a twenty-pointed silver star, six centimeters in diameter, surmounted of the badge. The star is worn over the left chest.
- §10 The reverse of the star of the Order of Beneficence shall have an engraved portrait of the Panagia, above her head the letters Μ.Δ. (M.D.) and the year of the award, and at her feet the letters Τ.Ε.Κ.Π. (O.B.G.P.).
- §11 The ribbon of the Order of Beneficence shall be made of silk moiré six centimeters wide consisting of equal bands of the national colors; for citizens the order is green, red, gold, red, green; for foreigners, red, green, gold, green, red. It shall be worn around the neck and shall be of such a length that the honoree may wear the badge over the center chest.
- §12 The ribbon bar shall be three centimeters in width and consist of equal bands of color in the order displayed on the ribbon, of the same order as the ribbon. The ribbon bar may be worn on the uniforms of the gendarmery and on the formal attire of the citizens.
- §13 Multiple awards may be awarded in any year, but not more than three.
- §14 Recipients of the Order of Beneficence are entitled to place the letters Τ.Ε.Κ.Π. (τεκπ) after their names.
- §14 Recipients of the Order of Beneficence shall be addressed as "benefactor" (ευεργήτης). This title shall be used alone or with the recipient's family name.
- §15 The badge, the star, the ribbon, the ribbon bar, and the diploma remain the property of the Monastic Republic and may not be sold or given to another person. However, it may be inherited, according to Law, by a next of kin. If the recipient dies intestate, these effects become the property of the Monastic Republic. Should an heir to these effects not wish to possess them, they shall be returned to the demarch of the recipient's deme to be displayed in the deme museum.
Sample of the diploma:
TITLE FIVE – INTERNAL REVENUE CODE
Public Law No. 18 [The Levied Taxes Act (To Νομοσχέδιο της Φορολόγησας)] (7/7/1931)
- §1 A tax, known as the income tax (φόρος εισοδήματος), shall be levied annually on all income above a minimum amount. This income applies to citizens, businesses, and the monasteries. It is not levied on churches or public institutions. The amount shall be determined by Law.
- §2 A two percent tax, known as the accomodation tax (φόρος καταλύματος), shall be levied on the charges required by lodgings.
- §3 A two percent sales tax (φόρος ?) shall be levied on the sales of all merchandise.
- a. Churches and public institutions shall be exempt from the sales tax.
- b. A purchaser from such an institution shall present a sales exempt certificate to the merchant at the time of the purchase. No tax-exempt purchase shall be made without it.
- c. Individuals below a certain income shall be given a sales exempt certificate which shall be presented to the merchant at the time of the purchase. No tax-exempt purchase shall be made without it.
- §4 No sales taxes shall be levied on food items purchased for the home or on drugs prescribed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in the Monastic Republic or in the Hellenic Empire.
- §5 A three percent sales tax shall be levied on the purchase of all alcoholic beverages.
- §6 A transportation tax (φόρος μεταφοράς) of two percent shall be included in the fares requested for taxi service.