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religion Tag

Syros, Island of the Pope

15.07.2017 in Arts & Culture

Syros, Island of the Pope… Where a Catholic and an Orthodox Found True Love While more than 95% of Greece’s population claims Orthodox as their religion, on the island of Syros, almost half of the population is Catholic. From the times of Venetian rule, the Catholic Church has played an impressive role in the island’s history. In medieval times, the Venetians brought Catholicism to the island of Syros. The Church planted strong roots and even during the almost 400 years of Ottoman occupation, the faith found solid ground. In addition to the churches there are also several Catholic Monasteries on…

Mount Athos: The Holy Land of Greece

09.09.2016 in Arts & Culture, History, Travel

Mount Athos: The Holy Land of Greece The heart of Byzantine splendor still beats on the steep slopes of Mount Athos. The “Holy Mountain” and the “Garden of the Virgin Mary” are some of the names given to Mount Athos over the years, a place which the Virgin Mary had chosen to be her garden on earth. In antiquity the entire region was called Ακτή (shore), and according to legend, the sea god Poseidon once killed a giant named Athos here using a massive piece of stone; the deceased’s name then given to the whole peninsula.   Mount Athos lies…

Dionysius of Zakynthos

01.09.2016 in History

Dionysius of Zakynthos Saint Dionysius of Zakynthos is a profound figure of the Greek Orthodox Church.  He followed a humble and spiritual path in life that later saw the recognition of his sainthood and the miraculous preservation of his body.    Life  Saint Dionysius was born in 1547 to a wealthy family who provided him with theological education and the knowledge of several foreign languages that enhanced his distinguished intellect and spirituality.   After the death of his parents, at the age of 20, he decided to devote his life to God, become a monk and lead an ascetic life. In 1560 he…

Mount Athos: The Holy Land of Greece

01.09.2016 in History

Mount Athos: The Holy Land of Greece   The heart of Byzantine splendor still beats on the steep slopes of Mount Athos. The “Holy Mountain” and the “Garden of the Virgin Mary” are some of the names given to Mount Athos over the years, a place which the Virgin Mary had chosen to be her garden on earth. In antiquity the entire region was called Ακτή (shore), and according to legend, the sea god Poseidon once killed a giant named Athos here using a massive piece of stone; the deceased’s name then given to the whole peninsula.    Mount Athos lies…

The Ancient Olympic Games: A Panhellenic Ideal

01.08.2016 in History

The Ancient Olympic Games:  A Panhellenic Ideal    The modern Olympic Games owe their reputation to a small piece of land in the western Peloponnese – the sanctuary of Ancient Olympia – where an athletic competition occurred in honor of Zeus every four years. In this place, and during this sacred time, athletes and judges along with all visitors were under the protection of the sacred truce. No one but the gods could interrupt the most magnificent religious and athletic festival in the Greek world, a tradition that would continue for over a millennium (776 BCE-393 AD).     For the Greeks,…

The tradition of Easter Lampades

01.04.2016 in Arts & Culture

The Tradition of  Easter Lampades     Holding Easter lampades (candles), a popular Easter tradition in Greece, dates back to early Christian times. The ancient Christian church baptized new members of the church on Holy Saturday, during which time each member of the church held a lampada. New converts carried their own lampades as they entered the church for baptism by priests.    The lampada symbolizes the new light of Christ that came to illuminate the soul of the converts or newly-baptized. It symbolizes the light Christians believe Christ brought to humanity when he conquered death and the darkness through his…

Komboloi Museum

01.04.2016 in Arts & Culture

Komboloi Museum    In April 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Evangelinos established the first, and still unique in the world, Komboloi Museum. The komboloi are strings of beads, often referred to as worry beads or prayer beads.     The couple began their journey on the “road of Komboloi” in 1963 with a visit to Alexandria, Egypt. Their research continued over the years, bringing them in contact with Hinduists, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics and Greeks (from Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt etc.) and gaining insight about these wonderful strings of beads.  Over time they built a unique collection of almost a thousand komboloi, with…

Faith and History

01.12.2015 in Arts & Culture

Faith and History    “In the pre-Christian Greek and Greek Orthodox experience – ancient, medieval and modern – there has been no division or even a hierarchical arrangement of religious, linguistic, social and even political values. Our tradition is like a large body of water which flows on, even though it breaks out occasionally into rivulets or absorbs other smaller rivers and lakes. Tradition (παράδοσις) is what preserves the unity of a people and secures their identity. When a people forget their heritage, they lose their memory and disappear from history.” – From “Orthodoxy and Hellenism,”  by Rev. Dr. Demetrios Constantelos     This is…

Wor(th)ship: The Photographic Field Work of Tassos Vrettos

01.12.2015 in Arts & Culture

Wor(th)ship: The Photographic Field Work of Tassos Vrettos    The photographic ‘fieldwork’ of celebrated Athens-born photographer Tassos Vrettos. The images document the makeshift places of worship of migrants and refugees in and around Athens and are  presented at the Benaki Museum, now through January 10, 2016.   Each of my visits, even when it wasn’t the first, even if I had been there time and time again, was like opening a door and entering a place of mystery, emotion, reverence and awe. Each space had its own unique identity and aura, from the bright colorful icons of an Indian temple…