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Charles donates £650,000 to monks


March 14, 2004
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Prince Charles has come to the aid of some monks whose monastery was destroyed in a fire. The Prince Of Wales has donated £650,000 to help restore the Mount Athos holy site, after it was gutted by a blaze two weeks ago.

Charles is said to have been devastated when flames tore through the monastery, which is one of 24 in the religious republic. He visits the community twice a year to enjoy a few days of meditation and painting. During his stays the royal leaves behind the comforts of his life in Britain and sleeps in a small whitewashed cell.

Prince Philip, who was raised in the Greek orthodox faith, also has a keen interest in the tradition.

The monks need £7 million to fully repair the damage, but they are reluctant to seek help from the European Union. This is because the EU has been pressuring them to change their men-only policy and allow female visitors. Politicians argue that the semi-autonomous territory is the only place in the EU that still imposes restrictions on free movement. Mount Athos' inhabitants fear the presence of women could distract them from their spiritual quest, however.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
The future king makes regular visits to Mount Athos, where he dedicates himself to meditation and art. He was reported to be deeply upset after learning of the firePhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The holy site was left gutted after the fire two weeks ago. The semi-autonomous territory in northern Greece has been a men-only zone for over 800 yearsPhoto: © AFP

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