Sunday, 24 September 2017

Our friends the russians

(Russian church, wine and a russian billionaire)

On the other hand the Russians are making their presence felt in an entirely different way.

On our way back from medical appointments in big city Nafplio last week we stopped to light a candle at newly consecrated church of Agios Loukas.

Agios Loukas - known as St Luke the Surgeon or St Luke of Crimea where he served as Archbishop

A modern day saint, born in Russia as Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky.  Died 1967.  Exiled, imprisoned, tortured, humiliated, as was the custom then, he continued curing patients and practising his religion (Russian Orthodox).

Fiesta 11 June

We had heard a lot about this church so we thought we'd go and see what all the fuss was about.  The church has only been used for services for the last five months.  The inside pillars are covered in paintings of Russian and Greek saints.

Money for the building of the church was donated by Greeks living in Russia.  A team of Russian artists did much of the painting and wood sculpture.

Built in the Russian style this church is a gleaming white edifice in the middle of nowhere.  It is amazing how many churches here are situated in such rural settings.  I presume some faithful follower donates 20 stremmata (greek unit of land measure) of their olive grove or vineyard so the church can be built.  

From what we've heard if you want a church built on your land and have it consecrated and recognised by the Greek Orthodox church you must also donate a certain amount of land around it to the diocese, 20 stremma.
As if they need more real estate

20 Stremma - about 5 acres

The belfry, off to one side of the church

Front of the church.  The icons and frescos are called a harmonious mix of Byztantine and Russian technique

Domed ceiling

The Bishop's chair

Olive groves and vineyards surrounding the church for as far as the eye can see

Thousand years of Russians on Mt Athos (Greece's Holy Mountain, men only)

Russian monastery dedicated to Agios Panteleimonos. Looks big enough to be a small village.
 Last year it celebrated 1,000 years.  Both Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow attended the cermeonies.  Once there were more than 2,000 monks.  Now there are 70 Russian and Ukranian  monks.  

Putin being pious

Greek island of Skorpios

Skorpios, a private island in the Ionian sea once owned by Aristotle Onasis.  Now leased for 100 years to the daughter of a russian billionaire.  

The Kremlin's wine is made on the Holy mountain in Greece.

Putin first visited Mt Athos ten years ago and tasted the wine made in the vineyards of the Holy Mountain.  He was so impressed that the wine, called Kormilitsa Gold, now carries the title of 'The Official Wine of the Kremlin Moscow'.  Bottles bear the Kremlin coat-of-arms.    Putin and his high level foreign guests are offered this limited production on important occasions.

Bravo Greece, you've come a long way since retsina (white wine preserved with a lump of pine resin).  But I still prefer neighbour Vaso's wine in the old plastic coke bottle, especially when she gives it to us free.


  1. The son of my host in St Petersburg was a wealthy property developer and spent several weeks every year in Greece. Russians are a much maligned people, not that they care.

  2. Russians are our new tourists, though I think the chinese are about to take over. There are a huge number of greek-russians whose families a generation or so ago were greek communists and forced to retreat after the civil war in the late 40's. Now the next generation can revisit their roots.

  3. Last year Chinese were our tourists. Polite and nice. This year Americans with big cameras on lanyards, n shouting gee ain't it quaint!. Detest them loud and obnoxious in my opinion!.

    1. American women tourists used to stand out with their blue and pink rinsed hair, the men in their plaid shirts. Of course the English (not Scottish) are obvious with their Sox and sandals!

    2. Ha ha our lot have prob got knee high sox on covering pasty white legs.

  4. Replies
    1. Greek churches are very ornately decorated inside. Thanks

  5. I must be one of the few remaining non-Greeks who loves Retsina.

    I have a daughter-in-law who is Russian. Her family moved to Sweden when she was young, but she's still very much a Russian (from St Petersburg).

    1. Most tourists used to complain about Retsina. Paint stripper or rust remover they called it. I miss having the choice now, though it is sometimes found on a drinks list. Still available in the supermarket. No use sending you some. You have to drink it here.

    2. Yep tried taking a bottle home!. Was truly vile!. Yet a glass or 2 in a shady taverna with olives to nibble perfect.

    3. Ice cold retsina in the shade of a tree, by the sea, perfect. It was a great drink with fatty lamb. Cut through that fatty residue and left you wanting more.....lamb and wine

    4. Menu for Nov developing😀

  6. Great pictures LA. I like Soviet workers murals. Seen a few of them in Warsaw.

    1. Thanks Dave. Taking photos of churches is a bit difficult _ respect and all that.