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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 October 2014
SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER 2014 15 a consequence the church can't train new priests, potential new patriarchs, who under Turkish law have to be born in Turkey. The experience of being at the Liturgy in Trapezounda was ecstatic, says Mr Koukouvitakis. It is not the same as hearing about it or seeing it in photos. "We were very excited to be at Panagia Soumela. "Some churches had been turned into museums and to go in and venerate the icons you had to pay. Others were turned into mosques for Islamic purposes. Not even one Christian, they were all gone." He says the entire experience made him feel proud as a Greek but also very depressed about what the Greek people had lost. Within his mixed feelings, there is a sympathy towards the Turkish people but also anger for what the Turkish government has done to the Greeks. "With hate they destroyed icons in the church. "I went to a place of my dreams, I'm happy for what my people did there, and I would go again. IsawalotofthingsbutIdidnot see any [Greek] life there." For another pilgrim, Eugenia Vandoros, the meeting with the Patriarch was a mind blowing experience. "He can make whoever he speaks to feel comfortable, he can relate to anyone. It was mind blowing meeting him, I'll never forget it. "With the Divine Liturgy being by invite only, we felt privileged that we were able to attend. For me, it was very emotional," Ms Vandoros says. "I felt out of place, but I had this inner strength. "We went to Cappadocia and visited its churches. Visiting these places and these churches and seeing icons that were vandalised and disrespected - coming from a Greek Orthodox perspective, it was the hardest thing to deal with. By the end of the tour it was like I couldn't walk into another of these places, spiritually it was very hard." *Peter Dalambiras is a journalism student at Deakin University. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (second from left) with Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis (L) and other priests. A Greek Australian pilgrim chatting with a local from Cappadocia.
04 October 2014
18 October 2014