In the year of the 1000th anniversary of the presence of Russian monasticism on Mount Athos, it is reasonable to evaluate the impact of spiritual traditions of the Holy Mountain on some regions, in particular on Altai Region, where Altai spiritual mission started its activity in 1830. Athos and Altai have had close religious contacts since the second half of the 19th century. This circumstance was an important factor in dissemination of Orthodoxy among the indigenous population. The purpose of this article is to reveal and analyse the spiritual ties between the Aphonites and Christians of Altai. The beginning of active spiritual interaction between Altai and Mount Athos is connected with the icon of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, brought to Altai in 1879. Gradually, the authority of Athonite asceticism became an important part of spiritual life of the newly baptised. The donations went to Mount Athos from diff erent territories. However, the attempts to spread the tradition of Mount Athos’ monks in the monasteries of the Altai mission failed. Athos other-worldly asceticism was too much discordant with the principle of missionary openness of Altai monasteries. This article shows that the spiritual connection between Altai and Athos manifested itself in various forms of religious life, such as pilgrimages of Altai mission employees, visits of the professed from Athos monasteries to Altai, donations to monasteries of Mount Athos, publication and dissemination of spiritual and educational literature. But the most important was the tradition to order icons. Every year missionaries ordered icons on Mount Athos. Arrival of icons was accompanied with special church celebrations. Athonite icons came to be local shrines. They were pilgrimaged, which contributed to new conversions to Christianity and strengthened the faith of those baptised earlier. Athonite images contributed to the worship of certain saints. A similar role was played by relics of saints which, although in smaller numbers than the icons, were also sent from Mount Athos.
Athonite monks, icons in Athonite style, miracle-working icons, Altai, Altai spiritual mission, Russian Orthodox Church
*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.