Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Monasteries of Volos

On Saturday, I had to go down to Volos for something, so Paris and I used it as an opportunity to visit two of Volos' monasteries. First, we went to the monastery dedicated to the Panagia Odigitria (The Virgin Who Leads the Way) icon, which is a dependency of the Holy Monastery of Philotheou on Mt. Athos.

There we had a very nice long talk with Fr. Parthenios, a priest-monk from the Holy Monastery of Karakallou on Mt. Athos, who was there to serve the monastery for a few months. We then ran into Sister Taxiarcheia, a nun who spent several years at their sister monastery of St. John the Forerunner in Goldendale, Washington.

From there, we headed further up the mountain to the Monastery of St. Gerasimos, located just above the high mountain village of Makrinitsa in the Pelion mountain range. There we were blessed to venerate the skull of St. Gerasimos the New (16th c.), who was friends with his fellow monk, St. Dionysius of Olympus.

Inside the church, we noticed the unique icon in the photo above. It depicts the saving ark of the Church and says, "Hold On to the Traditions."

This is a photo of the entrance to the small women's monastery of St. Gerasimos, which has about 15 nuns. We also had the opportunity to speak for a while with the abbess before we headed back down the mountain a few minutes to Makrinitsa.

In the picturesque little mountain village of Makrinitsa, we took a walk through the cobblestone streets and went inside the old chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist in the town square. We then had a coffee with a view down over the city of Volos.

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We then started the trip back to Thessaloniki. About 45 minutes outside Thessaloniki, we stopped at a little seaside village called Methoni (see map above), which is known for its fish restaurants.

The photos above and below are of our table right on the beach, as we stopped for a late lunch there. We had really delicious fresh octopus and kalamari.

For a few more photos, click here.

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