Saturday, May 11, 2013

Panagia Goritsa

On top of a hill called "Goritsa" just outside Volos is perched a chapel, dating to around 1800, dedicated to the Life-Receiving Spring, the feast day of which was Friday. This is actually a chapel belonging to the parish just down the mountain from us. Every year on the eve of the feast, the icon of the Life-Receiving Spring is taken in procession by horseback from the parish's main church, along horse paths, to the chapel. I've heard the ride takes about 1.5 hours. The icon is then returned by the same means on the eve of the next day, after the feast.

In the morning, of course, they celebrate the Liturgy, and the two natural springs under the church begin to emit water, which is considered holy water.

It is a true "panegyri," which is one of the words for "feast," but means more literally "all around." This refers to the fact that festivities occur "all around" the church that is celebrating, with the church as the focal point.

This is the case with this church. All around there are vendors selling foods, games, icons, etc., and many pilgrims come. After our own Liturgy here at the parish, we went with some friends to this church around 1:00 PM. After venerating inside the church and getting some holy water to take home, we had some souvlaki and Greek donuts next to the church, with a view out over the ocean and Volos.

Here at the kids eating loukoumades (Greek donut holes), covered with chocolate syrup.

Here the kids went down to get holy water from the spring.

Here is the old icon of the Life-Receiving Spring, surrounded by fresh flowers.

Here's a photo of the west entrance of the church. 

You can see the vendors' booths (and the water) on either side.

I think the panegyri is a nice tradition, as the Greek people seem to inherently yearn to always draw close to the church, with the church as the "spring" for all festivities.

For a few more photos, click here.

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