On Friday, we went with Pelagia and the babies to visit Fr. Peter and his family in the mountain village of Petrokerasa (population 100), about an hour outside of Thessaloniki. Above is a photo of the village church, dedicated to the Prophet Elijah.
Paul and Benjamin are taking turns as the bishop in this photo here inside the church. We had a nice meal and visit with Fr. Peter and his family and visited one of the parish's chapels out in the woods.
On Saturday, our group returned to Goumenissa for Part Two of John's family reunion. As it happened, the family was commemorating the repose of two loved ones with memorials at the church -- one on Saturday and one on Sunday -- so many family members who live outside Goumenissa were in town. It was thus a perfect opportunity for a bigger family reunion. There must have been about 30 family members gathered together to meet John for lunch at a restaurant in the central square of Goumenissa (see photo above).
Before lunch, we went to visit a dependency (metochi) of Simonopetra dedicated to St. Nikodemos in the hills outside Goumenissa. Interestingly, of the 25 monks there, one is an American convert with the name Fr. Simon or Fr. Symeon; he is also an iconographer. We weren't able to stay long at the monastery, so we didn't have time to meet him. I suspect he may have been hiding from visitors; one doesn't usually become a monk in a small Greek mountain village halfway across the world in order to hang out with other American converts.
After lunch, we went to Vespers at the church attached to the Metropolitan headquarters, a historic monastery dedicated to the Dormition located in the middle of Goumenissa. It also houses the wonderworking Panagia of Goumenissa icon.