The feature article in the December 2009 issue of National Geographic Magazine is entitled "Called to the Holy Mountain " and is about Athonite monasticism. The entire article, with text by Robert Draper and photography by Travis Dove, may be accessed on-line. Be sure to check out all three links on the page: Feature Article , Photo Gallery , and Map of Mount Athos .
The holy peninsula of Mount Athos reaches 31 miles out into the Aegean Sea like an appendage struggling to dislocate itself from the secular corpus of northeastern Greece. For the past thousand years or so, a community of Eastern Orthodox monks has dwelled here, purposefully removed from everything except God. They live only to become one with Jesus Christ. Their enclave—crashing waves, dense chestnut forests, the specter of snowy-veined Mount Athos, 6,670 feet high—is the very essence of isolation.