Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chapels of the Holy Archangels and the Dormition

Within our parish's geographical borders, there are 8 chapels. As is common, two are attached directly to the main church, one on the north side and one on the south side. The other 6 are spread out. Above is the chapel of the Holy Archangels. This is located in a beautiful spot, with views of the gulf and the neighboring mountain village of Makrinitsa. It has a playground right next to it, and it is adjacent to the famous Xenia Palace, a luxury resort. The owners of the resort kindly take care of keeping the chapel clean. Here's a view from the east. That's Benny in the foreground.

Here's a view from the south.

Here's a view inside the chapel. There are several small icons hanging low, so the kids like to venerate them by themselves.

Above is the exo-narthex just outside the western entrance.

Here's a view from the west.

Another chapel, located on the main road into Portaria, is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. They call it "Panagitsa" (little Panagia). Built in 1876, it was originally a large central temple that somehow fell into disrepair and disuse. Portaria was occupied by the Germans during World War II, and may have been damaged then. I don't know yet. In any event, a local woman took up the project of restoring it about 20 or 30 years ago, but on a smaller scale, preserving basically just the altar space and a little beyond that. That is why the altar is so wide in comparison to the rest of the chapel. Above is a view from the western, front entrance. In the foreground, you can see a table loaded with loaves of bread, wine, and oil, in anticipation of the artoklasia we did on the eve of the Dormition.

Above, a view into the main part of the chapel from the exo-narthex.

Above, the nave of the chapel. In the center, you can see the epitaphion (or bier) prepared for the Panagia. On the eve of the Dormition, we started Vespers at 7:00, and concluded with the Lamentations and a procession through the main street of Portaria. Traffic was stopped, but I actually never saw any of the drivers looking upset. Instead, many of them got out of their cars to stand and cross themselves as we went by.

Our parish comprises the lower half of Portaria, so we walked up the road and joined our procession in the middle of Portaria, at the square, with the village's other parish. We then processed into the square, where they had set up a large platform. There we performed a joint artoklasia service, with all the town's politicians, representatives from the police, etc. They were hundreds and hundreds of people packing the square.

On the morning of the feast, we probably had 200 people for the Liturgy at the Panagitsa chapel, many standing outside in the courtyard, listening to the service through the speakers.

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