Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

Easter wish and traditions

The cultural association of Skopelos town has send Skopelosnews a photograph with an Easter wish. Thank you very much!

From tomorrow, Thursday, celebrations in the Greek orthodox church are getting more serious when in the church the twelve gospels are being read. In these readings Christ’s last instructions to his disciples are presented, as well as the prophecy of the drama of the Cross, Christ’s prayer, and his new commandment. Below is a small extract of what is being read. The service takes about three hours. (source; https://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Week#Holy_Thursday)

Thursday is also the day that hard-boiled eggs are dyed red, signifying the blood of Christ, and the Easter bread, called tsoureki, is baked. If you don’t bake, the bread can also be bought in all the bakeries.

After the service, late at night, in the church, a bier is being decorated with numerous flowers by church goers. To represent the body of Christ an icon of him is placed in the bier.

If you want to follow the ceremonies you can go to the four big churches in Skopelos town but also in Elios and Glossa and Loutraki.

Tomorrow more about the Friday and Saturday services.

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365 and one

A beautiful church is being built in the potami valley. These churches stand on somebody’s land and the name that is given to the church usually has a special meaning to the family. When I guided a townwalk many years ago I used to say that on Skopelos there is a different church you can visit every day if you want for a whole year. I wonder how many churches have been built since then. Maybe it is a nice project to find all the churches and places them on a map after I retire? Nana Kobro did the work for me because she has photographed and registered many many churches on Skopelos but she gave up. Here is her link: churches on skopelos

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Good Friday rituals

Skopelosnews visited the Saint Pandelemon church to see the bier decorated with the most beautiful flowers. We will not show any pictures yet but there are red roses too. For tonight. You might not know what is happening so here it goes.

The Friday procession will almost look like a burial procession. Most people will have dark-coloured candles, which will be lit inside the church and everybody will light each other’s candle. The epitafeio, or bier, carrying the icon representing the body of Christ, leaves the church and everybody follows the procession. It starts from the Christos church and after that passes Saint Jannis/Pandelemon, Panagia Papameletiou and Faneromeni. Find one of those churches and go there early in the evening, follow the crowd and join in!

Καλή Ανάσταση !!!

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The church Panajitsa Eleftherotria celebrated yesterday. This saint protects pregnant women. The liturgy on that day is attended by pregnant women who are praying for a safe and easy delivery. In this case the name Eleftherotria (from Eleftheria = freedom in Ancient and Modern Greek) means release. Lots of people attended the ceremony yesterday morning, the evening before and the rest of t

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Icons essential

Today is the first Sunday of Lent, Sunday of Orthodoxy. This day signifies the importance of icons in the Orthodox religion and the defeat of iconoclasm.
The iconoclasts were those who believed that images should be prohibited under Mosaic law. They thought that icons could not represent both the divine and the human nature of the Christ.

On Skopelos the church Panagia Luvadiotisa (on the road to the monasteries) was the place to be today. Everybody takes an icon that they want to honor to this church and afterwards they walk back to the town in a procession.

Lots of people were around both inside and outside the church. Everybody wanted to light a candle and pay their respect to the icons in the church. The church lies between several outbuildings which were part of a small monastery. It was nice to see how, with much pride, people carried around their icons. They were also very willing to get their photograph taken.

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Tomorrow, Saturday, March 5th is “Psyhosavato” in the Orthodox Church or the “Saturday of Souls,” when families remember the dead of their family members by making traditional koliva and taking it to church for their dead to be remembered. Today we saw women go to churches to leave behind their plates with koliva for the morning service. Koliva is made for funeral and memorial services and distributed to those in attendance. Koliva is made primarily of wheat, which is symbolic of life and regeneration.

If you wish to make it we have put a recipe below. Many people make it at home too. The wheat can be bought in the supermarket.

Wash the wheat thoroughly to get rid of any grit or sand. Add the wheat to a large pot. Fill the pot with water, add a few pinches of salt, and bring the water to a boil.
Cook the wheat until it’s fluffy and tender – this should take about 20 minutes.
Strain the wheat and let the water drain out thoroughly.
Prepare a surface by layering some towels down. Spread the wheat thinly on the towels and allow to dry overnight.
Add the wheat, walnuts, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds and 2 tablespoons of the ground toast/crackers to a large mixing bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the mixture in a tray or bowl that you would like to use. Press the mixture down to smooth it out and shape it (mound for tray or flat for bowl). Sprinkle some of the remaining toast/crackers on the top of the mixture to cover (no need to use all the crackers). Sprinkle the powdered sugar generously on top.
Decorate the top with any of the ingredients you choose. It is traditional to adorn the top with a cross.

4 cups wheat grain, shelled
1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, lightly toasted
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups finely ground Zweiback, graham crackers, or paximadia
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds lightly toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
Almonds, powdered sugar, silver candies, walnuts or white raisins for decoration (optional)

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Due to celebrations in honour of the patron Saint of Skopelos, Reginos, tomorrow Thursday most shops, bakeries, banks and governmental offices will be closed.

You can visit the monastery from early in the morning until the afternoon. You can light a candle, visit the church and outbuildings and you will get sweets, bread and a drink afterwards. Take the road from Skopelos to Panormos that goes inland, past the quarry. Before the first incline up into the hills there is a sign for the monastery on the right. Park there and walk the short distant up to the church, especially if you are going early in the morning. If you come from the Glossa, Klima and Elios direction, drive to Skopelos and by the hairpin bend at the bottom of the last descent towards Skopelos is the sign for the monastery on the left.

A lot of local women go to the monastery a week before to start cleaning the church. They decorate several places with flowers and get the food ready for the celebration. The bishop and several other priests who come from the mainland days before to participate will visit the schools on the island and have talks with the students about issues that concern the young people.

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Thanks to Harald and Martina Dempf for this shot of the Loutraki epiphany race

Thanks to Harald and Martina Dempf for this shot of the Loutraki epiphany race

There’s a beer with your name on it if you can spot the Robert Wyatt song reference in our headline, but otherwise this is an early heads-up for Wednesday’s celebration of Epiphany, θεοφανια (Theofania) in Greek, and the annual ritual of swimmers racing to retrieve a cross thrown into the sea by a priest during the blessing of the seas for the new year. As part of our New Year’s resolution to make the user-friendly, interactive SkopelosNews more pro-active and less Skopelos-Town-centric, our illustration is of last year’s celebrations in Loutraki.

Predictions are for a mild if cloudy day, but still likely to be better than the snows that blew along Skopelos paralia last θεοφανια. Most shops and services will be closed, although cafés and restaurants will be open to serve the holiday crowds. The next day, Thursday January 7, is one of the year’s biggest name days, for people named Ioannis or Ioanna, and variants thereof. Traditionally, drinks, cakes, presents and even pocket money are given to name day celebrants. We know at least one who is hoping to receive a Scalextric set this year.

That, or a pony.

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Agia Barbara

As tomorrow 4 December is the feast day of Agia Barbara (Άγια Βαρβάρα), tonight Vespers shall be observed beginning at 18:30. All are welcome though this year there will NOT be a party after Vespers. The monastery will re-open tomorrow morning for the liturgy.

Those who wish to head up to the monastery by vehicle should do so carefully and remember that the road is a mess but passable (photo link). We suspect that the condition of the road is the reason for no “celebration” after the service.

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The bells, the bells

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The tower of Ayios Nikolaos church, up the street from the Armoloi crafts gallery, is currently undergoing renovation. The church bell came down on Friday for a clean-up and to allow the workers to carry out repairs, and other parts of the tower are also being renovated. The works were snapped by a member of the SkopelosNews troika who happened to be searching for a lost earring. Can you guess which one?

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