Constitution of the Monastic Republic, I

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In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We, the Archimandrite and assembled Hegumens of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain make known herewith that this Constitution has been promulgated by Us in the year of Our Lord 1870 as follows:


  • Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain shall be the official name of the sovereign nation and shall indicate the totality of the territory and the citizens of the sovereign nation.
  • Monastic Republic shall be the shortened name of the sovereign nation.
  • Mt. Athos shall indicate the name of the mountain at the end of the peninsula.
  • Holy Mountain shall indicate the territory of the monasteries, access to which is prohibited to women.
  • The Lowland shall indicate the plain between the Holy Mountain and the border of the Hellenic Republic.
  • The Isles shall indicate the island of Ammanouli and its adjacent isles which lie in the Aegean Sea to the west of the Lowland.
  • Monk shall indicate the men who live in the monasteries of the Holy Mountain.
  • Citizen shall indicate the men, women, and children of the laity who live in the Lowland and the Isles.
  • People shall indicate the monks and citizens of the Monastic Republic.


Article 1 [Sovereignty]

  • §1 The Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain is a Christian, democratic, sovereign, independent, and neutral nation.
  • §2 This Constitution proclaims that the action of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain is inspired by the principles of respect and promotion of liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, defence of human rights and dignity of the person.
  • §3 Sovereignty is vested in the duly elected Hegumens of the twenty monasteries, who exercise it through the executive power of the Archimandrite, the legislative power of the democratically elected Hegumens, and the institutions established in this Constitution.
  • §4 Although the Monastic Republic is but a single community, for purposes of representation and statistics it is comprised of the twenty monasteries, and the land apportioned to each one, and the Lowland and the Isles.
  • §5 There is no political entity smaller than the Monastic Republic itself.
  • §6 The territory of the Monastic Republic is inviolable and no portion of it may be ceded.
  • §7 The purpose and mission of the Monastic Republic is to provide an opportunity for men of the Christian Faith to come closer to God through a life of prayer and penance.
  • §8 The citizens of the Lowland and the Isles provide logistical support to this mission.
  • §9 Unless specified otherwise, all articles in this Constitution pertain to both the monasteries and the Lowland and the Isles.

Article 2 [Language, Capital]

  • §1 Greek is the official language of the Monastic Republic and shall be the only language used in the deliberations of the Executive and the Legislative Branches of the Government.
  • §2 The town of Karyes shall be the capital of the Monastic Republic and the seat of the assembled Hegumens.

Article 3 [Constitution and Laws]

  • §1 This present Constitution, which is the highest rule of the Monastic Republic’s legal system, binds all public and private institutions as well as individuals.
  • §2 The Constitution recognizes the principles of equality, hierarchy, publicity of the judicial rules, non-retroactivity of the rules restricting individual rights or those that are unfavorable in their effect or sanction, juridical security, accountability of public institutions and prohibition of any kind of arbitrariness.
  • §3 The universally recognized principles of international public Law are incorporated into the legal system of the Monastic Republic.

Article 4 [Treaties]

  • §1 Treaties by which sovereign rights or prerogatives of the Monastic Republic would be affected, a new burden imposed on the Monastic Republic or its citizens, or an obligation assumed that would limit the rights of the monasteries shall require the assent of a three-quarters majority of the Holy Synod.
  • §2 Treaties and international agreements take effect in the legal system from the moment of their publication in the Official Journal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain and cannot be amended or repealed by Law.


Article 5 [The Archimandrite]

  • §1 Sovereignty over the Serene Monastic Republic of the Monastic Republic is vested in the duly appointed Archimandrite. The Archimandrite is the symbol and guarantee of the permanence the Monastic Republic as well as of its independence and the maintenance of the spirit of parity in the traditional balanced relation with the world communities. He proclaims the consent of the monasteries to honor their international obligations in accordance with the Constitution.
  • §2 The Archimandrite is the Head of State and the Head of Government and shall exercise his rights pertaining to the powers of the Monastic Republic in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and of the other laws. The executive power belongs to him and he shall have no powers other than those formally bestowed on him by the Constitution or those specific laws passed by virtue of the Constitution.
  • §3 The Archimandrite is the Chairman of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Mountain.
  • §3 As Bishop of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Mountain, the Archimandrite governs as an autocrat to whom the Holy Synod act merely as advisors.

Article 6 [Appointment to the Archimandriteship]

  • §1 The Archimandrite shall be appointed from the twelve Orthodox hegumens in a rotation determined by the seniority of the monasteries for a term of five years. A list of the seniority of the monasteries shall be a schedule added to this Constitution.
  • §2 Upon election the Archimandrite shall be sworn in at the Divine Liturgy in the presence of the other nineteen Hegumens who shall affirm their fealty by a gesture to be determined by Law.
  • §3 Every Archimandrite shall declare orally upon his honor and dignity the following oath during the Divine Liturgy: “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.
  • §4 This oath shall be administered to the new Archimandrite by the outgoing Archimandrite and witnessed by the signatures of the nineteen Hegumens.
  • §5 Should the office of Archimandrite become vacant before the end of the tenure, the Hegumen next in the order of rotation shall be sworn in and begin his five-year term.

Article 7 [Required signature]

  • Every law shall require the signature of the Archimandrite to attain legal force.

Article 8 [Implementation of Laws]

  • §1 In consultation with the Holy Synod, the Archimandrite shall take the measures necessary for the execution and implementation of the laws and the measures pursuant to his rights of administration and supervision and shall issue the appropriate ordinances. In urgent cases, he shall take the necessary measures for the security and welfare of the Monastic Republic.
  • §2 Emergency decrees may not suspend the Constitution as a whole or individual provisions thereof but may only limit the applicability of individual provisions of the Constitution. Emergency decrees may not curtail the right of each person to life, the prohibition of torture and inhumane treatment, the prohibition of slavery and forced labor, or the principle of nulla poena sine lege. Moreover, the provisions of this article may not be limited by emergency decrees. Emergency decrees shall expire at the latest six months after they have been issued.

Article 9 [Appointment of Judges]

  • The Archimandrite shall appoint the Judges in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Article 10 [Commander-in-chief]

  • The Archimandrite is domestikos ton scholon of the Monastic Republic’s gendarmery. As such, he determines policies of public safety and security within the limits prescribed by Law, appoints the protostrator, and grants commissions to officers.

Article 11 [Right of Pardon]

  • §1 The Archimandrite shall have the right of pardon, of mitigating or commuting legally adjudicated sentences, and of quashing initiated investigations.

Article 12 [Creation of Services]

  • The Archimandrite shall create and structure the services considered to be necessary for the performance of the Monastic Republic’s institutional functions and shall appoint the holders of these services and their accreditation to all effects.

Article 13 [Money and Stamps]

  • §1 The Archimandrite shall issue postage stamps in keeping with the Law.
  • §2 The currency of the Hellenic Empire shall be legal tender in the Monastic Republic.
  • §3 There shall be no private ownership of gold bullion, with the exception of that used in jewelry and coins held for numismatic purposes.

Article 14 [Credit]

  • The Archimandrite shall supervise the regulation of credit.

Article 15 [Passports]

  • Passports shall be issued in the name of the Archimandrite. They are likewise revoked by the Archimandrite.

Article 16 [Proxy for the Archimandrite]

  • §1 The Archimandrite may entrust any other Orthodox Hegumen as his proxy with the exercise of the sovereign rights pertaining to the Archimandrite, should the Archimandrite be temporarily unable to exercise these rights.
  • §2 The powers of the Archimandrite given by this Constitution may not be proposed for amendment in an interval during which another person is acting for him.

Constitution of the Monastic Republic, II