One of the first things that I noticed about Mount Athos is the fact that no women were allowed. “60 Minutes” producer Michael Karzis and producer Harry Radliffe tried to get permission to film a “60 Minutes” story on this self-governed peninsula in Greece. Mount Athos houses 20 monasteries and some 2,000 monks. Getting permission was not an easy tasks however.
Finally they had a breakthrough after building trust but that was not the end of the challenges. The “Monks of Mount Athos” was broadcasted Sunday, April 24, 2011 on CBS at 7:00 PM EST. Many people are now interested in finding out more about Mount Athos. This is a very interesting place to visit if you ever had the chance.
This is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. The 20 monasteries it houses are Eastern Orthodox. Greeks commonly refer to this mountain as the “Holy Mountain”. Even though it is land linked you can only access Mount Athos by boat.
The Holy Mount Athos will be televised on the CBS program “60 Minutes.” Mount Athos is over one thousand year old asylum of Orthodox Christian monasticism and comes under the direct divine authority of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The “60 Minutes” journey to Mount Athos is set to go on air on CBS Sunday, April 24 at 7:00 PM EST.
The program has been titled as “The MonksThe Monks of Mount Athos” and it will narrate the story of Bob Simon’s tour to the Mount Athos which is a far flung cape in the North of Greece. It is pertinent to note that millions of Orthodox Christians deem Mount Athos as the most blessed and holy place on the surface of Earth. However, it is extremely difficult to reach.
The Holy Mount Athos is an independent peninsula and provides homes to twenty monasteries and around two thousand monks. It can only be reached by boat via the rough seas. Unsubstianted accounts suggest that the ship of Virgin Mary was drowned in the rough sea and this is believed to be one of the reasons that makes Mount Athos a sacred place with thousands of pilgrims visiting it each year.
The “Monks of Mount Athos” has been produced by Harry Radliffe and Michael Karzis. The producers for the segment are considered to be the ideal travel guides to take viewers of the program on a long journey to the far flung Mount Athos.
Michael Karzis is Greek by origin and this certainly assisted as he and Radliffe made efforts to obtain authorization to film Mount Athos.
Obtaining the authorization to film Mount Athos was not a painless task. According to Karzis, the parliament of the holy community of Mount Athos is the single parliament on the surface of Earth that has been in session constantly ever since the tenth century.
“The parliament that exists there, the holy community, is the only parliament on the face of the Earth that has been continually in session since the 10th century,” Karzis states. “And these are the guys we were looking to get permission from to shoot on Mount Athos.”
Initially the parliament of the Holy Community rejected the request of “60 Minutes” to film Mount Athos. Karzis states that many other channels such as the BBC has also been pitching to film the Holy Mountain for alsmost forty years. And so does the Germans and French, but without success.
However, the producers for the “60 Minutes” segment succeeded in getting permission to film the Mount Athos after they lobbied around the influential abbots who manage individual monasteries.
“We just built trust,” says Karzis. “And they understood that we would do our best to distill the essence of monastic life, the beauty of the place, and what makes Mt. Athos unique in this world.”
After Karzis and Radliffe were granted the permission to film Mount Athos, additional challenges were waiting for them. These challenges will be revelaed when the segment goes on air.