Aegean Day 4

IMG_6148A van to take us to the Byzantine monastery of St John, a World Heritage site, at its top of the mountain, so no more (at least today) of yesterday’s hiking. First a stop at the Cave of the Apocalypse. (The last book of the New Testament is Revelation, also called The Apocalypse of John. I picked up a bible the other day to read it – very boring – but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.) We saw the indentation in the cave wall where, tradition has it, St John lain his head and dictated the vision of the Apocalypse to Procharos, an acolyte, who wrote it down (reminding me of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, putting his head in a hat, dictating the Book of Mormon) No photos allowed in there.  This mosaic from above the front door, albeit with John standing, not with his head in a hole in the wall.

Windmills (which used to be used to grind wheat) are on all of the islands.  Two of the windmills were built in 1588, the third in 1863.

One of the islands that we can see from here looks like it’s been cut and pasted into the composition:



This photo of the monastery (also a a World Heritage site) at the top of the island was take from the town of Chorá (combined with the cave and the monastery, “a traditional Greek Orthodox pilgrimage centre”.)

IMG_6155IMG_6158The monastery, built by the Crusader Knights of St John (everyone must remove their hats, contrasting to the Catholic church my childhood friend attended where you had to wear a hat), was all heavy decoration covered in gold leaf. (No photos allowed inside; these are from the courtyard.)

IMG_6159We also got a special tour (Maria is amazing – she manages to get us through many locked doors) by one of the monks (bad photo of mine) of the refectory and its 17th C frescoes, one of which is sui generis as it depicts a number of men holding up long papers for the Council of Nicaea, which set the dogma for the church, in 325 AD.  According to Wikipedia:

One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been ‘begotten’ by the Father from his own being, and therefore having no beginning, or else created out of nothing, and therefore having a beginning. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).

Coffee in a little cafe (C chose cappuccino freddo, which sounded so good, the milk thickly frothed and served over ice,  lovely in this warm weather, that it has become my coffee of choice).

IMG_6164IMG_6165Next to an 18th C house, the Nikolaidis Mansion. Cisterns were located below each house, and the water from the roof would pour into it through a pipe. Wells in rooms such as the kitchen accessed the fresh water. Furniture was built in. (You’ll have to click on this explanation to make it large enough to read.)

Henrich explained that each island has a strict architectural code, denoting materials for building and paint colours. For example, all buildings on Patmos are white, with red tile roofs and stone accents.

We cruised to Samos in the afternoon. I took a nap with my portholes open for the fresh breezes, only to be awakened by a splash of water, as from someone cannonballing off the deck.

Raging water everywhere and all the walls did creak.
Raging water everywhere and a wave surged through my porthole…

cabin 2The edge of my head, pillow, and mattress were soaked; the crew made a big deal of it, and took the mattress and pillow out to dry for a day.  As the cabin has two twin beds, I slept the night in the other one.

The meals are consistently excellent; large plates of mezédhes (appetizers) that we all share, family style. Plus the ship serves afternoon tea, with cake, crepes, or other sweet, which I usually forgo. I could still gain weight.



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