Friday, July 31, 2009

Four Local Monasteries

Thomas and I returned around 4:00 Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning, we had Divine Liturgy here in Panorama at St. George's, and then Thomas and I went for coffee with a group from the parish. Our friend Paris was celebrating his name day (St. Paraskevi), so he was treating us all to coffee.

We had been joined, unexpectedly, that morning by an Athonite hieromonk, Fr. Niphon, from Katounakia, and he joined us for coffee, along with Prof. Dimitris Tsellingidis, a well-known theology professor who is a member of our parish. After visiting for awhile, an interesting discussion took place about the difference between ethics/morals and ethos, with the professor and Fr. Niphon discussing.

For lunch on Sunday, Fr. Alexios came to our house and blessed the babies.

That evening, I took Thomas and Ana to two of the monasteries in Panorama, the Nativity of the Theotokos and St. Makrina's.

The nuns at both places took us to venerate the churches and insisted on treating us to some juice, sweets, and conversation. Thomas and Ana brought photos from their parish in Yakima and the monastery in nearby Goldendale to show the sisters, who were interested in Orthodoxy in America.

At St. Makrina's, they even allowed us to bring out the relics of St. Makrina for Thomas and Ana to venerate.

On Monday morning, we headed toward Halkidiki to take Ana for a swim at the beach, but on the way we stopped at the monastery dedicated to her saint, St. Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions. This monastery, founded by the Byzantine empress Theophano in 888, houses the skull of St. Anastasia, which we got to venerate.

Above Thomas walks in the pathway between the church and a building of cells.

Here Ana is getting a drink from the fountain of mountain water just outside the monastery entrance.

We then drove over to the monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, where we venerated the skull of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian and the grave of Elder Paisios.

Here Ana and Thomas look out from a balcony at the monastery over the land. Thessaloniki and Panorama are toward the left.

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