A few days ago, my friend, Fr. Dn. Riginos, brought back our newly cleaned chandelier (this will be the subject of an upcoming post). While he was here at the church, he noticed something inside the altar, on the backside of our wooden iconostasis, which dates to about 1800. He asked me: Have you ever noticed this wooden box over here? I hadn't. In fact, although it's large, it's quite inconspicuous. In the photo above, it's located above the far deacon's door.
Here it is again, from closer up. (The small niche you see off to the left, by the way, is a door to an attached side chapel, dedicated to St. Athanasios and St. Tryphon.)
Closer up still. Anyway, when I came over to examine it, he asked me if I had any idea what it might be for. I didn't, so he explained. During the period of Turkish occupation (this area wasn't liberated until 1881), the Greeks would hide weapons (rifles, swords, etc.) in these boxes. Indeed, the box is the perfect size for rifles from that period, swords, etc. My curiosity was piqued. He promised to bring a crowbar when he came back a few days later to continue work reinstalling the chandeliers. Was it possible no one else had noticed it and that it still contained something from that time period?
Meanwhile, just to be sure, I got permission at the Metropolis to open the box. I also asked around the parish and people who have been in the church their whole lives had never noticed it. When Fr. Riginos came back a few days later, we climbed up there, but alas, someone had beat us to it. We took it down and you can see it above.
The others wanted to throw it away, but I insisted we put it back right where it was as an important reminder of this area's history.