Here we were at the base of the trail that would take us to the Shrine. We set out prepared for a steep and long climb – it was neither. The path up to the Shrine followed a creek and there were benches placed along the way for people to reflect or just stop and rest. The Shrine it self was more beautiful than I imagined and had a full altar for services. It was surrounded by trees and on all the trees were signs telling people not to light matches due to the fire hazard. Orthodox services do use candles ( Greeks and fire, whose bright idea was that ? ) – no candles today however.
My dad was pleased because we had other family members and most of his old friends from Church in attendance. After all it had been six days since they had spoken and they needed to get caught up on the latest news. All the older people had chairs but they all refused to be the first one to sit. Once the first old lady finally sat the rest sat and breathed a sigh of relief, including my dad. At the end of the service after standing for so long , many of the younger people were wishing that they had brought chairs. As we headed down the path after the service my dad said ” This was beautiful and if I and some of these other guys were younger we would enclose this Shrine and install heating so it could be used all year”.
We also learned that there was a path going up from the Shrine that led to a huge Cross that someone had built and apparently a nunnery. Who knew Greek nuns were so rugged – must be the Greek version of Grizzly Adams.