Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

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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[click to enlarge the map]
For years there has been confusion. Those of use who rely upon what we think of as “good maps” to plan walks or simply locate ourselves in Skopelos have noticed that there are TWO churches of “Panagia Polemistria” shown in very close proximity. In the “Pefkias” area there is a church called Panagia Polemistria (purple arrow). We did a post about it in 2013.

Many maps have indicated (yellow arrow) the ‘symbol’ of archaeological ruins of a “Temple to Athena” next to a church symbol which is on the little road from Vromoneri (Potami) up past a few little churches to Pefkias. Some time has been wasted clomping through the underbrush on the steep hillside where the red archaeological symbol is shown. No luck. The church nearby on the map is not called Panagia Polemistria. It is a mistake (at least I hope it is a mistake because that is the point of this post).

The Panagia Polemistria listed nearby (Purple arrow) (link above) has clearly defined remnants of a very large ancient temple right next to the more modern little church.

Perhaps readers who know more than we about this area can clear up the confusion once and for all?

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Mark 2We (here, specifically, me, john) make no excuse whatsoever for half-inching the title of an Ian Dury song to record the sad loss of a much-loved Skopelos friend, Mark Clough, who died, peacefully and surrounded by his family, on Saturday. He was merely 55, if large and bearded, although few held that against him.

Mark was a writer, journalist and editor in Britain with the Western Morning News and the North Devon Journal (my thanks to his colleague and friend Lyn Barton for her biographical research here), and a biro-and-pad hack of the old school, who mentored untold numbers of younger writers (one went on to become Political Editor of the Financial Times) and is a great loss to the history of journalism, although he would chuckle at that fact.

Mark in Clark Kent mode, with runner David Bedford

Mark in Clark Kent mode, with runner David Bedford

He and his wife Caroline moved to Skopelos five years ago, where they dedicated themselves to becoming Greek alongside their neighbours, gardening and walking their dog Bonnie, as he explained in his blog.

Warned of his illness, a number of his friends recently convened a celebration of their friendship with Mark and Caroline at the Asterias taverna on his favourite beach, Panormos, to light a fire – Mark was also a career pyromaniac – and blow up some balloons to show Mark and family we were thinking about them. Both fire and balloons were dealt with in an ecologically sound manner afterwards.

Idiocy expands with a click

Idiocy expands with a click

He will be missed for his warmth, kindness, keen intelligence and mischievous humour. But, as Mark often did at his blog, we should leave the last word to one of his favourite musicians. Just don’t call him Trevor.

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Ai Giorgi The small and derelict monastery/church on the islet of Ai Giorgi has been renovated and cleaned up over the past few months. The islet Ai Giorgi (Agios Giorgios) lies between Skopelos and Alonissos and is featured through the church doorway in the Mamma Mia wedding scene. The church appeared to be a ruin for many years yet now has a fresh coat of whitewash. The monastery building appears to still need a lot of work and access by boat is very difficult. Word is that a local (Skopelitan) family either owns the islet or is merely responsible for the church. DSCN3918

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September 1 is New Year’s Day in the Orthodox Liturgical Calendar (the Church year). The dates of most of the major feasts are calculated from today. The Western church starts its year at Advent.
Also, today is the name day for a whole passel of people starting naturally with Adam.
Here is the list, first in Latin text with Greek following:

Adamantios, Adamantia, Amanda, Athena, Athina, Akrivee, Antigone, Antigoni, Aspasia, Afrodite, Fregia, Diamando, Adamandia, Ada, Dioni, Dodone, Elpiniki, Erasmea, Erato, Evterpi, Thalia, Theano, Theonymphi, Jasmin, Yasmin, Jasmeen, Yasmeen, Ismini, Kaliroi, Kalisti, Kallisto, Clio, Kleonikos, Cleopatra, Kleopatra, Patra, Patroula, Cleo, Koralia, Mando, Mandi, Manto, Margarita, Marianthe, Meletios, Meletis, Melpmene, Moshoula, Ourania, Urania, Rania, Pandora, Pinelopi, Bilio, Polimnia, Polynike, Polyniki, Polyna, Polina, Polytimi, Timi, Rallis, Ralis, Rallia, Raylee, Sapho, Simeon, Terpsihori, Haido, Haideftos, Hariklia, Haroula, Joshua, Jesus of Navi

Αδαμάντιος, Αδαμαντία, Αμάντα, Αθηνά, Ακριβή, Αντιγόνη, Γόνη, Ασπασία, Αφροδίτη, Φρέγια, Αδαμαντία, Αντα, Διαμάντω, Διώνη, Διόνη, Δωδώνη, Ελπινίκη, Ερασμία, Ερατώ, Τέτη, Ευτέρπη, Θάλεια, Θεανώ, Θεονύμφη, Ισμήνη, Καλλιρόη, Καλλιρρόη, Καλλίστη, Καλλιστώ, Καλιστώ, Κλειώ, Κλεονίκη, Κλεοπάτρα, Πάτρα, Πατρούλα, Κλειώ, Κοραλία, Κοραλλού, Μαντώ, Μαργαρίτα, Μαριάνθη, Μελέτιος, Μελέτης, Μελετία, Μελετούλα, Μελετίνα, Μελπομένη, Μόσχω, Μοσχούλα, Ουρανία, Ράνια, Πανδώρα, Πηνελόπη, Μπηλιώ, Μπιλιώ, Πολύμνια, Πολυνίκη, Πολύνα, Πόλυ, Πολυτίμη, Τίμη, Ράλλης, Ραλλία, Ραλία, Ραλλού, Σαπφώ, Συμεών, Συμεώνης, Συμεωνή, Συμεωνία, Συμεώνα, Συμεωνίτσα, Σύμος, Σύμη, Τερψιχόρη, Χάιδω, Χάϊδω, Χαϊδω, Χαιδευτός, Χαϊδευτός, Χαρίκλεια, Χαρούλα, Ιησούς του Ναυί

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The heart of the National Marine Park of Alonissos is the remote island of Piperi. About 58km from Skopelos, the island is 4 km long and 1.2 km wide at its extremes. The island, with a highest point of 324 meters, is privately owned and strictly off-limits to the public due to its importance as a breeding place for the Mediterranean Monk Seal. Permission must be granted to even approach closer than 3 nautical miles of Piperi.
Pepiri map [Map enlarges]

The island has been owned for years by the Lemonis family of Skopelos. They, people accompanying them, and officials of the park are the only people allowed to set foot on the island. On Piperi the family keeps goats, a donkey, and two Skyrian horses. These animals are fairly self-sufficient yet someone needs to go to the island every six weeks or so to be sure that the animals are OK. Though Mr. Kostas Lemonis has a boat, he is willing to hitch a ride on someone else’s boat, the payback for which might be a short tour of the island.

This happy fate befell some friends a few weeks ago and they sailed with Mr. Kostas and his helper Andreas to Piperi. After an arduous climb from the south-western shore they were able to see the Church of the Source of Life (Ζωοδοχος Πιγι) that is well looked after. A priest makes the trip once in a while to keep the spot sanctified. Nearby are the foundation ruins of an even older church. The Northern Sporades used to have many isolated monasteries, occupied by monks from Mt. Athos (85km due north of Piperi). One wonders if such a remote posting was a form of punishment, or if one craves isolation, a reward.

Later in August Andreas (the helper) will spend a few weeks to conduct repairs, care for the animals, and most likely lead a very quiet life.

There is only one water source on the island, a precarious 15 minute walk from the Church/monastery/stable. Located on the side of a steep outcrop 300 meters above the sea, the approach is tricky for visitors walking along the nerve-wracking narrow loose gravel path towards the spring, especially when a thirsty little horse is nudging from behind and dislodged stones underfoot fall into the sea.

Over the years the Lemonis family visited the island for the purpose of collecting pine resin to sell, sometimes spending weeks on the island. Tapping trees is no longer profitable so the activity has been discontinued. See this link to an article with photos from 50 years ago.

From time to time the goat herd must be culled to prevent starvation (a “no win” situation for the unfortunate goat). The carcasses are flayed on the island and the meat brought first by horse and then by foot to the water’s edge, and then to Skopelos.

We hope that the photos show something about this remarkable island, one which most of us will not have the opportunity to see.

[Daphne suggested that I explain how this story came to be. Colette Verlinden sent me (Tom) photos and the story with the link to the old photos. I then reassembled, added spicy adjectives and then appended the maps. The article is basically Colette’s. We thank her for her generosity.]

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