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Posts tagged ‘Greek Orthodox’

Holy Souvenirs from the Holy Sepulchre

Besides seeing the amazing architecture and artistic decorations of the church itself, visiting religious sites always gives me the opportunity to learn about cultural practices.  Major destination churches teach me what it means to be a pilgrim by watching how people interact with the place.  Maybe more so than regular tourists or travelers, pilgrims understand the personally transformative aspect of their trip and want share it with others after they have returned home.

Candle holder just after Golgotha in the Holy Sepulchre

Candle holder just after the Chapel of Golgotha within the Holy Sepulchre.  These thin beeswax candles are an important part of Orthodox worship.

The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a holy place for all Christians and as a result, you have a lot of unique worship practices and customs coming together there.  Still, everything is rooted in a deep faith and desire for connection to the divine in the church, no matter what language was spoken.  Whether through prayers or “making” souvenirs, I also saw a deep commitment from all pilgrims to bring the holy experience back home with them. 

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Art, Wine, and Miracles – A Road Trip in Israel

In America we call them “Roadside Attractions” – the enticing wonders that dot country highways.  Advertising sensational things like 20 foot long alligator mummies or the world’s biggest dollhouse, these sights are usually good for a laugh, a rest stop, and an ice cream before heading back on the road.  Mostly they are quirky, kitschy tourist stops, but occasionally you find a gem.  I’ve come to realize that these places are not limited to the US.  Here’s the story of one such incredible find in Israel, a figuratively and literally miraculous place.

Israel road to Nazareth to Cana

On the road leaving Nazareth

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The Byzantine Art Experience – Hosios Loukas Monastery, Greece

Secluded on Mt. Helicon in Greece, just south of Delphi, is the Monastery of Hosios Loukas (Holy Luke).  A triumph of Byzantine art and architecture, it is no surprise that this church is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Decorated with a combination of mosaics and frescoes, I made certain to stop at this church.  While its difficult to capture the feeling of being in such an amazing place, hopefully the images and music in this post will help transport you that beautiful place of marble and holy Byzantine faces.

Byzantine mosaic - Jesus Washing the Disciples Feet

Jesus Washing the Disciples Feet from the Narthex of Hosios Loukas

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