July 19, 2024

As luck would have it, I arrived in Olympos a week after the name day of Mary. (In the Greek Orthodox church each day of the year is dedicated to a saint. As most children are named for one of their grandparents, who in turn have been named after a saint, name days are cause for a multi-generational celebration in a way that birthdays are not.)  At the highest point of the village the small 16th century church of Panagia –  literally the “All Holy;” meaning Mary, mother of Jesus – was still bedecked with Greek and Byzantine flags from the recent festivities surrounding the Virgin. Doors open, I poked inside and found a small chapel saturated with centuries of rich iconography – along with the village papas, or priest, who more than happily took time out for a photo.


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