I was entranced, over the weekend, by this immensely beautiful photograph of the refectory of one of the monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece. It came from a two part supplement to “The Guardian” newspaper, in which some facts about the health and diet of the monks living there were discussed – being described as “The World’s Healthiest People”.
There were some very impressive details from studies that have been carried out with the inhabitants of Athos. A five year study of 2000 monks found virtually no incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, with exceptionally low rates of heart disease and “unusually low rates” of many different kinds of cancers.
One of the reasons cited for their exceptional vigour is that they eat a modest diet with no meat, totally fresh foods, semi-fast every otherl day and live under conditions of very low stress.
I would suggest that being surrounded by the extraordinary beauty of these wall paintings – living in an environment where beauty was seen as necessary to the health of the whole person, would make its own contribution to peace and tranquillity, which surely can only be beneficial to the wellbeing of body and soul?
Photograph by Mark Read, Guardian/Observer supplement, Sunday 17th Feb 08