Sunday, 20 November 2011

Panagia Kounistra ...

The Skiathos Calendar by Betsy Barnard mentions ... 

21st Panayia Kounistra (The presentation of the mother of god in the temple, 
i.e. when she was taken to serve in the temple as a child aged about 12) 
On the morning of the 20th the miraculous icon is brought up to the top 
church and taken out of the town about 2.30. The bells ring in town at about 
1.00. People follow on foot on the old road to Kounistra. At the monastery 
of Kounistra an evening service, all night vigil, bonfires food, much 
feasting. Buses run to the monastery all evening. 
Early next morning, about 5am the icon is taken back along the old road to 
town, people following on foot. To Ayia Triada about 8am, down the old paved 
road to the Kalo Pigadi and along the main road to the Tries Hieraches. 
Service 9 - 10.30 ... 

Its a sunny morning here and the church bells at Tries Hieraches are ringing ...

Today its Panagia Kounistra, the days when the townsfolk return the icon, to the monastery at Kounistra in a pilgramage across the hills on the old paths.

Most of the village will be walking just after noon, heading up to Acropolis - this year minus the band due to the austerity cuts, we have no bandmaster.
Young and Old alike, many of the old ladies will be barefoot. They will be met at Acropolis by men with guns who serenade with a volley of gunfire as the icon passes. Then climbing up on the old paths to Katsarou, then over the hills, visiting shrines and finally up to Kounistra.

Once at Kounistra there will be a service and the villagers will rest and take Coffee, Tsipouro or make the return to town on special buses. Many will stay overnight with the Icon, then return in the morning over the hills to Tries Hieraches at first light.

I will be one of them ...

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