May and June seem to be the favorite time for academic conferences, and our Metropolis hosted several groups. Twice recently I gave a tour of Makrinitsa and Portaria, which gave me an opportunity to learn a bit more about Makrinitsa. In fact, it was the first time I had ever managed to go into Makrinitsa's enormous main church, and learn about its history.
Above is a photograph from inside the church of a sculpted stone relief of the Divine Visitation, dating from the 13th century. It is one of the few pieces preserved from the original monastery built on this spot some time between 1205 and 1215, which was dedicated to the Divine Visitation of the Mother of God. The monastery had royal benefactors and grew in importance until the 17th century, when it seems to have disappeared. No one is sure whether it was destroyed by the Turks or whether it was gradually abandoned.
In any event, it was rebuilt on the same spot as a large church dedicated to the Mother of God in 1767, using parts of the original church.
In 1955, the church was almost completed destroyed by the earthquakes that rocked this region. It was rebuilt according to the same dimensions and plan in 1963.
May and June also mark the beginning of the season for weddings and baptisms. We were invited to a reception after a baptism recently, and the kids had a good time particularly with the bubble machine. Here you can see Damiani chasing the bubbles.