Saturday, April 23, 2011

Olympia and Delphi

I hope everyone had a reflective Good Friday. I am currently in Mykonos, an island in the northeast corner of the Cyclades by Delos.

The map doesn't do it justice. This place is gorgeous. We are here for six day, three of which are free of study, lectures, and homework. It's been a while since the group has been able to relax. Mykonos is the most tourist oriented place outside of Plaka that we have been to so far. The houses are all whitewashed with blue doors and shutters. The alley ways and shoreline are picturesque. There are old-fashioned windmills lining the port of the town, and a church named Panagia Paraportiani (pictured 3 below) that is absolutely beautiful.

Anyway, the place is beautiful and we get a chance to enjoy it on our own. I went to the Orthodox Good Friday procession last night. It was really special. A group of young locals kids led the procession with decorative banners, and a flowered altar was carried by the chapel's elders. There was about 300 people with every procession (each church has one) but the town was quiet and reverent. It was beautiful. We walked around the entire town before they ended up back at the chapel. When you study so much history and related studies, its easy to lose sight of what is really significant in all of time and pertinent to life itself.

"Even the very creation broke silence at His behest and, marvelous to relate, confessed with one voice before the cross, that monument of victory, that He Who suffered thereon in the body was not man only, but Son of God and Savior of all. The sun veiled his face, the earth quaked, the mountains were rent asunder, all men were stricken with awe. These things showed that Christ on the cross was God, and that all creation was His slave and was bearing witness by its fear to the presence of its Master."
-Athanasius, On the Incarnation

The Good Friday Gathering in Mykonos
The Processional Altar
I should take a minute to flash back to Olympia and Delphi. We had a short time back in Athens after Crete to finish some exams and write a term paper on Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology. After 3 days, we shipped off for the 5 hour drive to Olympia. We were there for 3 nights and worked at the site of the Panhellenic Sanctuary and Games. The gradual construction of the site was fascinating. The highlights were definitely the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Stadion (which we ran like brazen tourists), and Phidias' Workshop.

The Ruinous Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Olympic Stadion
Me at Phidias' Workshop
After Olympia, we went to Delphi for 2 days to visit the Temple of Apollo (where the Pythian Priestess delivered the oracles) and the surrounding sanctuary. Delphi was by far the most naturally beautiful site we've been to. It was built on the face of Mt. Parnassus during the Archaic Period (8th-5th century B.C.) and overlooks the bay of Corinth. We spent two days studying the site and the museum. We even hiked up a mountain adjacent to Parnassus. It was really spectacular. There was a stadion, several elaborate treasury buildings, a theatre, and a temple of Athena that were also quite impressive.

First view from Delphi
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi
The Theatre at Delphi
The Bay of Corinth

Everything has been going swimmingly, except for the cold I am currently suffering. Yes, it is indeed a horrible man-cold. I am still planning to head into town at around midnight for the Easter celebrations. I'll continue to down the tea. The next procrastination review will focus on the islands of Aegina and Delos, which made up the last 2 days of the trip. I've nearly caught you up, folks. I will also dedicate a part of that post to Greek food. Stay tuned.

Until then, Eddie


  1. really glad you're keeping the updates coming Ed. Wish I could be there but I'll probably do something similar down the road in my academic career. Hope you're having a lot of fun!

  2. Eddie!

    I am so happy everything has been going well in Greece, thus far, minus the cold (which sounds pretty bad). This blog is encouraging, especially the quotation from Athanasius you included. I hope beautiful weather, hot tea, and some good r and r chase away your cold and fill your Easter weekend, brother.

    In that marvelous Hope,