Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday in Galaxidi

We begin the Easter Week celebrations today in a small town of 1,300+ residents, called Galaxidi. We are in what is considered Central Greece, about 2 1/2 hours outside Athens. . .and a world away from its big city bustle.

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Galaxidi, Greece

Charmed by this little town that until a few days ago had been nothing more than a word on a map, we are already contemplating a return to its serene little setting on the Corinth Gulf.

Last night as we sipped wine and watched the sunset behind the hills and mountains that encircle it, we listened to the church bells ring out across the town at precisely 6 p.m. – the loudest of which came from that big church you see towering over the town in the photo above, St. Nickolas, Agiou Nikolaos, one of five Greek Orthodox churches here.

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This morning we woke to the melody of clanging church bells announcing Sunday services on this second most special Sunday of the Easter Season. Later while strolling through town, we decided to drop in on services.

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If you’ve not attended a Greek service when visiting this country, you are missing the opportunity to experience first-hand a bit of its history and tradition.  It is a moving experience –even not understanding a word that is spoken by the priest or by the male congregants chanting the ancient Greek litany; those same words that have been chanted throughout centuries.

An incense haze swirls through the nave. Small prayer candles, lit by congregants, flicker in small groupings. On this Sunday the church was decorated with palm fronds and baskets of laurel boughs.

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As the service concluded, the congregants approached the altar to receive bread that had been blessed, similar to communion in our Christian churches. We sat and watched as the process concluded and members of the congregation took photos of their priest.

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One lady, after receiving her bread and blessing approached us and gave me her piece then went back and got one for Joel. I wonder if we Americans would be so kind to visitors in our churches?

I often remind myself how blessed we are to be able to travel and to be able to spend our days exploring this amazing country. 

Some days, like today, I don’t need to remind myself – others do it for me.

Map picture

Happy Easter week to you all. We head to Crete tomorrow – hope you’ll continue along with us there!

11 comments:

  1. Dear Jackie and Joel

    Thank you for transporting me to the Corinth Gulf on this blessed Palm Sunday.
    Being with the locals is what enhances travel and provides insight to the residents of a place. I am moved by the woman choosing to give you her bread. A gesture that is rich in meaning.
    We attend the Epiphany Service at the Greek Orthodox Church in Tarpon Springs, Fl each year. The service brings to mind the Latin Mass which I love.
    Continued joy a you meet the world

    Helen xx

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    1. Helen, I absolutely love the way you closed your comment, "Continued joy as you meet the world." I will keep it in mind as we travel. Thank you for the lovely words.

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  2. Love hearing about religious ceremonies in different countries - definitely different to how it is done in the UK.

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    1. It is far more interesting than our Palm Sundays back home - that is for sure. Thanks for commenting Catherine.

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  3. How interesting to have this kind of experience on your travels, Jackie. I really like your photo series, and the last shot is most original. All the best...

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    1. Thanks for the nice words, Andrew. Always nice to see your comments here!

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  4. Hi Jackie and Joel,

    Well, my mom and I also attended Palm Sunday service yesterday, in Toronto's Greektown, but it just wasn't the same. How I miss the congregation of the villagers, huddling together after receiving their andithoro and all rushing to the square for their first coffee of the day! Your narration and photos are greatly appreciated, as this uprooted Torontonian is torn between two beloved countries for different reasons.

    Of course I'll be following you to Crete! Can't wait to see some pics of my adopted land! Happy travels my friends!

    Poppy

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    1. You have described so well our experience last Sunday. I can understand why you are torn between the two as the pull of Greece is certainly a strong one - we understand what you are saying completely. Thanks for chatting today - see you soon! xx Jackie

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  5. That top photo is exquisite, Jackie. :-) I'd love to be sitting right there. xo

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    1. It would have been fun to have you there and sharing in that bit of wine and enjoying the scenery! Hope you and Bear are doing well. hugs, Jackie

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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