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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Get thee to a Nunnery

Just across the waters, turn right, continue down the road, up and over a few mountains and out in the wop-wops you will , God willing, find the Nunnery of Kalami.    Every Friday during the Orthodox Lent there is a service (don't expect details, it's all Greek to me) which most of our island Greeks attend and many will go out of their way to worship at  a Monastery  which they deem more Holy.

Last Friday we took our Synpethera (daughter's mother-in-law) and one of the maiden aunts to the female monastery of Kalami .

Some of the rural roads we took went through open farm land.  This herd of goats held us up for a few minutes but they were very polite and lifted their butts from the middle of the road and wandered off to ravage a few olive trees.

The Monastery was founded in the early 17th Century, abandonded in the 1800s and turned into a Nunnery in 1972.  The only part of the original old monastery is the church itself with icons painted way back then and still in excellent condition.

Looking into the inner sanctum towards the old church.

We were the first to arrive and got chairs at the front of the church.   The chairs are limited in number and stacks of plastic stools were provided.  Many just stood.  We watched with amusement as the older women hurried in and grabbed chairs, pushing aside other contenders with their walking sticks, placing bags and coats on other chairs for their friends.  There were some quite heated scuffles, though in hushed tones.

Those 'in the know' had supplied themselves with plastic stools and now positioned them left, right and centre and all the way along the aisle.

People came in all during the service, pushing up to the front along the now crowded aisles to kiss the icons.  There was no gossiping and no murmur of voices though, which you will usually hear during an orthodox ceremony.

Before and after the service there was greek coffee and tea available, loukoumia (turkish delight) , Lenten biscuits and jugs of cool water.  

The Monastery is way up in the hills, 5 kilometres from the main road and with a wonderful view.  The gardens are beautiful, full of flowers and greenery and not a weed in sight.  The Monastery itself is of honey coloured brick and the whole atmosphere is peaceful and extremely pleasing.

We left immediately afterwards, high-tailing it back to catch the 7.30 car ferry.  The car ferries are only running hourly during winter and having to wait an hour for the next ferry is nerve wrecking for some impatient persons.

Hightail -  America 1885-90
refers to the raised tails of  fleeing animals such as deer or rabbits
Meaning, to retreat at full speed


  1. It looks lovely and peaceful
    As I was reading I thought to myself. I'd bring my own chair lol
    See you can't take the Greek outta a girl

    1. Lol there were a few with their own chairs. Next time I'll stay outside and have coffee and loukoumi. Too much incense for a start.

  2. They rarely chose the 'simple life', do they. If you wish to live in luxury, join the church!

    1. Certainly right in this case. They must pay workers for the gardens and to keep the buildings in such excellent condition. Not a bad life but it really was quiet and out of the way.

  3. You live in such a beautiful place,you are lucky.

    1. You only see the good side of it!! This monastery is beautifully kept. The gardeners there do an excellent job. I can imagine it is cool and green even in mid summer

  4. It all looks beautifully maintained.

    I must get myself a walking stick and get into practise - who said getting older is no fun?

    1. These women were determined. You'd need to get in a bit of practise to get the better of them!! The one in front of us I noticed walked out with her stick over her arm.....obviously used only as a weapon

  5. What a beautiful building.