Spatial Ataraxia

Masterarbeit by Yiannis Pappas

Mentors (theory): Dr Kathrin Wildner, Prof. Frederic Schröder
Mentors (praxis): Prof. Maren Strack, Prof. Stephan Mörsch


The present Master’s thesis seeks to develop a better understanding of how an ethos of a religious place that exists 6480 years after the world was created (Byzantine dating), i.e 972 A.D (Western Europe dating), continues to exist throughout the centuries by its enacted utopic character. Mount Athos practicing a communal type/form of social organization, which evolves without reproduction; meaning through births, but rather through the symbolic death of the inhabitants’ (the monks), in their repudiation of political, social and economic conventions of modern civilisation.

The dichotomy of the maternal ascetic community of Great Lavra in Mount Athos, Greece, represents the inverted proportions of a metaphysical space, between physical and mental reality, the obvious and the symbolic and finally a human place that has been created by God to draw people to himself. The phenomenological approach of this subject, through the anthropological practices that go hand in hand with this place and, at the same time, the connectivity of sciences, is intended to compose a particular place, which constitutes the meaning of a sacred center although it is absolutely decentralized in an isolated place.

The environmental identity analysis, which attempts to present the heterotopic and heterochronic spatial case of the sacred space of Great Lavra; throughout participant observation, discourse analysis and mapping a range of physical and mental elements; suggests the empirical and the effectively emotional space which focus on individual and collective ataraxia. The space over -time -orientation of Great Lavra’s communal society may be relevant to present and future societies’ repeating problems, as it is highlighted by the importance of the past while relieves its inner and outer spaces of equanimity and tranquility.

Photos: Yiannis Pappas