Bientôt des femmes au Mont Athos ?
Article en anglais
For more than a thousand years, they have allowed only men to enter their ancient stone monasteries.
But the monks of Mt Athos in Greece now fear that the peace and quiet of their all-male sanctuary is at risk from a new law that allows people to change their gender.
The law, which was passed last week by the parliament in Athens, allows Greeks over the age of 15 to change the gender listed on their identity cards through a simplified court ruling, without proving they have undergone sex-change surgery.
The Orthodox monks fear that the law will enable women to simply declare themselves men in order to earn the right to access the jealously-guarded peninsula in northern Greece.
The rugged peninsula is home to 20 monasteries and more than 2,000 monks, some of whom shun the relative comfort of dormitories and refectories to seek even greater isolation in tiny shacks bolted to vertical cliffs.
It has special autonomy and access is strictly limited to just 100 Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox a day, who are admitted for a three-night stay.
The heads of the monasteries wrote a letter to the Greek government, expressing their concerns over the consequences of the new law.
“In light of this legislation, we are full of unease as to what the future holds for us,” they said.
“It is another violation of God's law, just like existing legislation which permits cohabitation agreements between same-sex couples. If we do not resist, then our ancestors will rise from their graves.”
The monks’ concerns mirror the condemnation of the Orthodox Church as a whole, which has fiercely condemned the new law.