The categories of foundations that can be distinguished in Mt. Athos are the following: the twenty monasteries and their dependencies, that is sketes, kellia, kalyves, hermitages and dwellings. The above order reflects, in a way, the number of the monks that live in the foundation and the austerity of the life there. On the other hand, in a foundation where many monks live (such as a monastery or a skete), nobody can posess his own property. Everything belongs to the commune. Monks from various countries live in Mt. Athos. However, every person who comes to Mt. Athos and takes the monastic capacity becomes a Greek citizen.
According to the Constitutional Charter of the Holy Mountain, which is enshrined in the constitution of Greece, Mt. Athos is a self-governed part of the Greek state which is spiritually subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Holy Community (Greek Hiera Koenotes) is the government of the Mountain. It is the board of the twenty representatives of the monasteries, who are chosen, one from each monastery, for a one year term. Executive authority rests with the Holy Supervisory Committee of the Community (Hiera Epistasia). Each of the five members of this body represents a group of four monasteries . Those members constitute the Holy Supervisory Committee for one year from June 1st to the end of May. The segregation of the monasteries into five groups of four monasteries each is shown below:
The numbers in brackets denote the Athonite order of honour. The Greek state supervises Mt. Athos and has the executive right to keep public order and security. State power and authority is exercised by the Civil Administrator who has the rank of Prefect and is subject to the Ministry of Interior. The Civil Administrator can take part in the meetings of the Holy Community only when he is invited and his vote is simply consultative.