Prayer on the roof, the rattle and the feeling of Easter

The assumption of the blessed virgin, the Greeks are sometimes called “summer Easter” – according to the degree of solemnity and importance. Russian any Marian celebration in Greece will resemble Easter celebrations in Russia. The impression left patronal feast of the monastery of Panagia tis, Vrisses on the Greek island of Sifnos – the Nativity of the blessed virgin.

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The monastery of Panagia tis, Vrisses – the largest monastery of Sifnos. It is located on a picturesque hill to the South of the island capital – Apollonia. The monastery was founded in the XVII century. Cruciform Church of the monastery dedicated to the Nativity of the blessed virgin, decorated with the characteristic Cycladic Islands bell tower with two bells. In the monastery there is a Museum of sacred art, which houses rare ancient liturgical books, vessels, priestly vestments, icons, manuscripts.

The icon of the virgin from the monastery of Panagia tis, Vrisses (Sifnos, Greece)

In Greece love and revere the Theotokos. The name Maria is perhaps the most popular female name. In busy places and only heard the shouts: “Mary!”, “Mary!” In fact the Greeks do not cry, they just have a way of talking so excitedly joyful. This is especially felt in the day of the festival.

Flocking across the stone paths to the monastery from a distance, people still greet each other, and become acquainted – hug. The priests ask the blessing and kiss the hand is necessary. Some priests come to the monastery on foot – the island is small, all the villages near. Who leave their cars in the Parking lot a few hundred meters from the monastery. The machine is usually simple and not new – there are so accepted.

The monastery and the square gaily decorated with garlands and flags.

In the monastery courtyard is quite noisy anyway, so it seems to a newcomer to the Russian pilgrim. Is not our usual silence, broken only by the ringing of bells or shouting children. Gaumont arriving parishioners, talking animatedly smokers on the benches the old men (the smoker is not as strict as ours), from the refectory came the clatter of dishes and the cries of the cooks preparing the festive dinner. Oh, and the kids – where do without them – add a little chaos.

Sometimes all drowning in the festive chime. The ringers don’t need to climb a bell – rope from the bell pendulums stretched right to the ground.

The older members of the ringers are changing, competing in his art.

Everyone is waiting for the Archbishop – Metropolitan of Syros, Sifnos and all the Cycladic Islands Dorothea. He has already arrived in the monastery and is now in the sacristy with the clergy. On the high porch of the sacristy there are the first priests, so the Bishop will be released soon and will start a festive evening service.

The output of the Metropolitan precedes the procession of the clergy. In another, not festive day, as many priests from the island will not meet here today, all ten of the priests of Sifnos, plus accompanying his.

The procession moves under the clatter, reminiscent of a dance rhythm. It is already familiar to us, Archimandrite Agafangel knocks with a wooden hammer in a wooden beater is a special tool in the form of boards. The tradition to call people to prayer is rooted in the first centuries of Christianity in the Roman Empire, during the persecutions of Christians, when the bells could not be considered.

Metropolitan Dorotheos – focused and serious. It is difficult to imagine him astride a horse during an equestrian procession. Meanwhile, according to media reports, the Lord not only rides, but also spiritually nourishes children’s riding club, however, as other training and educational institutions of his diocese. Actually, this is one of the most well-known and respected in Greece bishops. During the last elections of the head of the Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Dorotheos was even considered as a potential Primate.

Even after the beginning of the festive service in the courtyard of the monastery remains crowded the temple cannot accommodate all who came to pray.

Some of the people going on the walls and roofs of the monastic buildings. It is not prohibited, on the contrary – roof-pad with leading him to the stairs is used for this purpose.

The worship service is broadcast via roof mounted speakers. Someone sing the chorus, and someone who prays in silence, enjoying the roof.

Upstairs is not as loud and not as bright as the illuminated the crowded yard. Only the choir, the sunset glow over the sea and blooming in the gathering twilight star.

In the temple at this time has a prayer focus. Singing a magnificent chorus made today as local singers, and coming together with the Metropolitan of Syros.

Choir of exclusively male – women in Greece in the choir do not sing. But they are allowed to be in the Church without a headscarf and long trousers – the Greeks are paying less attention to external traditions.

The choir draws in prayer. Does not interfere with either ignorance of the language, no chants. The mind guesses of familiar melodies or well-known Greek word, but praying soul. “Agni Parthene, Despina, Orange Theotoke…”

After the service, we are able to come under the blessing of Metropolitan Dorotheos. The Lord blesses and says: “I ask the Russian people to pray for Greece as we pray for Russia.”

Artos, which the monks give to everyone in large pieces, more like our Easter cake – a huge and equally delicious. But the main treat is waiting in the refectory. It’s revithia – chickpea soup, or Turkish peas, which is almost the hallmark of the island. Food as simple as delicious. Boiled chickpeas and of itself is not bad, but if it is diluted with water and season with lemon juice, simply delicious! Eating one serving, I can not ask for a Supplement.

Marinated olives – not in our store, size and taste. Also give them their due. Oh, and a glass of local wine from a jug – sort don’t know, but gorgeous.

At the gala dinner everyone is invited, but the monastery refectory holds about fifty people. Therefore, members and guests will dine in shifts. After eating, people will take the dishes and leave the dining hall through another exit.

Energetic dishwashers and hawkers in minutes served table again, ostavljajut freshly laundered, still warm plates, with the agility of army cooks, pour the soup for the new fifty parishioners waiting outside.

The holiday ended, but the feeling remained for a long time. A special, joyful feeling that is experienced usually at Easter and during Bright week. And if you celebrate in Greece and Easter? For this, perhaps, is to go to the island in the spring…

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