Our Mission


The Mount Athos Foundation of America (MAFA) was founded by a group of American members of The Friends of Mount Athos (FoMA) who wanted to establish a US non-profit, public benefit corporation to support the monastic community of Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain. Our volunteers come from the American membership of FoMA. Our patrons and donors come from all over the United States. Working together, we strive to:

PROTECT this monastic holy land as a pilgrimage site for all branches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and all people seeking the spiritual renewal to be found there

SUSTAIN everything that makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site unique

FOSTER study, understanding, and appreciation of the history, religious culture, arts, architecture, natural history, and literature of the monasteries and monastic dependencies that make up the monastic community of Mount Athos

For more than 1,000 years, Mount Athos has existed as the principal pan-Orthodox, multinational center of monasticism. Athos is unique within contemporary Europe as a self-governing region claiming the world’s oldest continuously existing democracy and entirely devoted to monastic life.

The Holy Mountain has a total population of some 2,200 monks, most of whom follow the coenobitic (“community life”) tradition, which brings monks into communities for living, working, and worshipping together.

Others follow the eremitical tradition, living as hermits. They all share a dedication to unceasing prayer and an abiding love and concern for their fellow human beings.