Zbigniew Kosc, Athos (Photographies 1983-1989)
The monks' republic on Mount Athos is regarded as the center of Eastern Orthodox spirituality.
The first monastery on the holy mountain (Aghio Oros) was established by Constantinople just before the year 1000, and the small community of servants of God survived the second thousand years of Christianity better than the Orthodox metropolis on the Bosporus.
This is not merely a result of its relative seclusion and inaccessibility; the primary reason is the monks' unshakable belief in their mission: to create a center for the Christian faith far removed from the noise and bustle of the world.
Today, 20 monasteries are represented in the Assembly at Karyai, 17 of them being Greek, and one each Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian.
Together with the non-voting monastic communities - the so-called Sketes, the smaller monastic communities or Kellia, and the hermits, they form a state dedicated to the service of God: a state loose in organization but strong in faith.
For us today Athos is still synonymous with Eastern Orthodox art: icons, illuminated books, frescoes, and churches.
In photographs of Zbigniew Kosc the other aspect of Athos is presented, that aspect which is of overriding importance to the monks and hermits: religion and spirituality.
The black and white photographs - taken in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989 - in themselves suggest this inward-looking life.