The Monastic institutions of Mount Athos are divided into six classes: the Holy Monasteries or Monasteries, the Sketes, the Cells, the Huts, the Seats and the Hermitages.
Monasteries today are all communal. In the past some were peculiar. In commons, the brothers have everything in common and nothing they own. The Monastery is headed by a life-long Abbot, the Community Bishop, with the Eldership and the Commissioners around him, elected by a majority under the Eldership in a secret vote, from a list of candidates, which is also drawn up by a majority of those who have the right to vote (those who have passed the 6th from the shear of the year) of monks. Certain spiritual and moral qualifications are required for the Abbot, but he can be dismissed by decision of the Eldership and after a majority of the Brotherhood's voting rights. If the elected Abbot does not hold the rank of Archimandrite, he is ordained immediately after the election. In the peculiar monasteries, the monks live individually, while the monasteries of these are governed by a Committee and the Assembly of Superiors.

Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou