Monday 27 May 2013

Mainland Greece

We have just returned from our first holiday to mainland Greece, where we went in search of warmth and sunshine. We were not disappointed. Indeed, so unused are we to sun that after a few days , in consideration of our skin, we had to skulk in the shade. We took the hotel bus into Lerissos town where we had been told that the market was wonderful and you could buy "everything".
We passed the boat builders yard
and expectations were running high.
Good fruit and vegetables. a tempting stall with a mound of cherries, some local honey, which I bought, along with a couple of packets of herbs, but otherwise, what a load of tat!
We wandered about town where there seemed to be little to see. (And passed a bit of time while waiting for the returning bus by eating ice-cream!) Then we spotted this church
and found that a side door was open.
We picked our way past scaffolding and entered into a riot of colour and imagery.
Icons were everywhere and the walls and ceiling were beautifully painted.

Fresh flowers decorated this icon
and dried flowers, or more accurately, fresh flowers that had died, covered a large structure, creating a strange fuzzy, mossy surface.
It was silent in the church and I thought that we were alone
until a few slight noises above made us look up and discover a man on top of the scaffolding painting on the ceiling.
How wonderful - it's not every day that you find a man painting angels! It reminded me of J.L. Carr's gentle little book, "A Month in the Country" which is set in 1920 and tells the story of a young man, a survivor of the Great War, who comes to a village church to uncover a wall painting.

When we were back at the hotel I asked about the church and the meaning of the flower-covered structure.It is St Nicholas Church and the structure represents the body of Christ. It is decorated with fresh flowers every Good Friday by the local women. After the Friday service it is carried around the town by four men in a procession on a route that creates a cross to bless the entire community. People line the streets. It is then returned to the church and set high inside the door so that as people enter they walk beneath the structure and receive a blessing. After  a period of time it is placed where I saw it and the flowers remain for forty days before being taken down.


  1. I visited Greece many years ago and saw many beautiful churches. I also remember all the wonderful shopping. Greece and its islands will remain in my heart and memories forever.

    1. We have visited several Greek islands in the past. with a number of holidays in northern Corfu, a particular favourite. (In the depths of winter I sometimes google houses for sale in Corfu!) The area of mainland Greece that we were in was not very picturesque - but the hotel and weather were great!

  2. What a treat! Thank you for finding it and sharing it. I have a strange affinity for religious icons. I think I was a nun in another life.

  3. A treat is just what I thought. I was so thrilled to see the mural painter, he made my day. May use the image for my Christmas card! Himself loves icons and has two, one of which is a St Nicholas whose face has all but faded away, while the gold and colours positively glow from the wall.