Friday, September 07, 2012

Back to Portaria

After a week in Thessaloniki, we headed back to Portaria, this time with our Bosnian Serb friend Milenko and his mom.

About half way, we stopped in the Tempe Valley to take some holy water from the shrine to St. Paraskevi. Above, you can see Milenko and the kids crawling into the cave where the holy spring gives water.

Above is the exo-narthex of the small church built to honor St. Paraskevi.

The water from the mountain runs out into a beautifully clear steam. Pelagia and the kids stuck their feet in.

Above is the long footbridge over the river. Above, Paul is running to go get Milenko. Below, Paul beat Milenko in a race.

All the kids love the educational games on the iPad. Benny is a real wiz with it. Here he is playing out on the balcony, with the city and the gulf in the background.

Above, Paul is watching the sunset in front of the church. The Greek and Byzantine flags are flying.

The other parish in Portaria has this lovely old church in the woods dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which was originally the central church of a monastery. I was asked to come serve the festal Vespers the night before. One of the best chanters in Volos came, and it was a beautiful service.

On Friday night and Saturday, September 1, our parish also had a panegyri (feast) in our country chapel dedicated to St. Symeon. The chapel is about halfway between Portaria and Makrynitsa, near Philotheou's Monastery of Panagia Odigitria.

Our parish has a old large icon of St. Symeon the Stylite (pre-1750), which we brought to the chapel for veneration.

As is common, a faithful couple in our parish has sort of taken on the chapel, assuming the cost and responsibility for keeping it clean and getting it ready for feasts. A lot of other parishioners chipped in as well, making the loaves for the artoklasia and volunteering to clean. Afterward the Liturgy on Saturday, the couple had coffee and treats for everyone.

Here are the kids playing at one of the playgrounds in Portaria.

When we came back from playing, Benny was thirsty, so he ran down the stairs to get a drink from the fountain in front of the church.

Here's Phoebe playing along the north side of the church, in front of the chapel to St. Anthony.

For a few more photos, click here.

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