Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
In lay-terms, archaeology is pretty much a tool that helps those in the field gain enough confidence to write chapters of history. A bit like CSI, Crime Scene Investigation, in most cases, without a crime. Once archaeologists are confident with results from ‘scene investigation’, they then write what they consider to be the history of a place, monument, artifacts, behaviour, people etc.
With this in mind, we teamed up with Kythera’s Metropoliti to conduct an annual service in Agios Kosmas on Saturday, which in a way created living history, a service very similar to when the 720 year old church was constructed. Even more historic is that Agios Kosmas was built using from materials from public buildings (including a temple) from approximately 1900 years earlier. Living history and showcasing Hellenic culture in a number of ways. Below are a few photos from the 2011 annual Agios Kosmas service.
Reawakening Agios Yioryios Paliokastro & Better Access to a (Probable) Temple to Aphrodite
Sunday, July 23rd, 2011
There’s more to the We Dig Kythira movement than just archaeology, as most of the team has been actively participating in a number of community projects. This goes beyond a purely ‘scientific’ approach to archaeology, including community service as part of the overall scope of the project.
However, a geographic link to archaeology exists between two forgotten churches at Paliokastro – Agios Kosmas near the lower peak of the mountain, at the top of the path we are excavating, and Agios Yioryios up higher. An ancient sanctuary is located behind Agios Yioryios, one that some archaeologists believe incorporated a temple to Aphrodite, a very important deity to Kythera.
So opening up a path to Agios Yioryios now provides better access to the church and the probable location of a temple to Aphrodite. A reawakening service at Agios Yioryios was held by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim on Friday, July 22nd.
Making the Seemingly Impossible, Possible
As far as I know, Profitis Elias is the most difficult church to access in Kythera.
It’s perched on the edge of a small mountain peak near the airport, with thick, sharp foliage along a steep climb to the church. The archaeological team staying nearby in the Agia Moni monastery committed to clearing a path leading to Profitis Elias, opening access for the first service there in decades.
What’s the point?
Well, it’s an exercise regarding hope.
That if a solution can be found to a problem that some said was impossible to solve, it gives people hope regarding other problems, such as the economic crisis in Greece and around the world.
The Profitis Elias reawakening service was held on Thursday July 21st, led by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim. It was a moving event as you can see, the photos say it all.
Jimmy Galakatos deserves huge thanks, for putting in a super-human effort in leading trail cutting up the mountain. The team of volunteers associated with KIPA and the archaeological dig as well. Theo (Theodoraki) Poulos has also helped immensely.
Last year the team helped open a walking trail to Agios Kosmas, which led to the first service there in probably over a century.
This year the team will help bring life back to Profitis Elias, Koutsokefalo by opening a trail and assisting the Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim in holding a service there.
Cutting a path is also a physical activity that will bring together a cross section of volunteers – from local Kytherian farmers, to students and members of the Diaspora, hence providing a sense of unity, gained through banding together and helping out.
A path will also be cut from Agios Kosmas to Agios Yioryios at Paliokastro, enabling the first Agios Yioryios service in over a century. Agios Yioryios is located next to where an ancient sanctuary (from perhaps 800BC) to a female deity has been found, the oldest Hellenic sanctuary of this kind discovered on the island so far. Some believe it is a very early Hellenic sanctuary to Aphrodite, Kythera’s best-known ancient diety. From text at least, little has been found scientifically so far.
The dates for special ‘forgotten church’ services are;
Tuesday July 19th, 8.30am – Agios Kosmas annual service, Paliokastro
Wednesday July 20th (night) – Profitis Elias esperinos service
Thursday July 21st, 8.30am – Profitis Elias (main) reawakening service
Thursday July 28th, 8.30am – Agios Yioryios, Paliokastro reawakening service
Here’s a 360 degree panorama taken at Profitis Elias on May 15th by Fivo Tsaravopoulos.
Here’s a video showing where Profitis Eliasis.
About 300-500m of path needs to be cut, up the side of the mountain from the end of the dirt road, to the church.