Mount Athos is home to 20 stavropegial Eastern Orthodox monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the "Holy Mountain".
The Garden of Virgin Mary According to the tradition, Virgin Mary was sailing accompanied by St John the Evangelist from Joppa to Cyprus to visit Lazarus. When the ship was blown to Athos peninsula, it was forced to anchor close to the present monastery of Iviron. The Virgin walked ashore and overwhelmed by the wonderful and wild natural beauty of the mountain, she blessed it and asked her Son for it to be her garden. A voice was heard saying "Let this place be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved". From that moment the mountain was consecrated as the garden of the Virgin Mary or Mother of God (Perivoli tis Panagias) and was out of bounds to all other women.