Orthodox church on the way

steeple for the Orthodox church

Saturday morning we woke up early and headed out to the monastery that is on the top of the hill here in Hydra. It didn’t look that far away but looks can be deceiving.

There were lots of fun things to see on the way up. After we had pasted all the white houses with their blue doors we came to a little Orthodox church. It was cute. At first we thought we had come to a dead end and that we had to climb back down to find another road, but we walked around the church and found the road again on the other side.

an arch in the wall

the city below

I’m not sure what the significance is in this arch. It was part of a wall that was on the side of the path after the Orthodox church. If you looked beyond the arch you could see the whole city!

At first the road was nice and smooth. It was an easy climb and we were just kind of chillin’ as we walked.

the smooth path

the rough road

Like any good sermon illustration the road did not stay smooth. (There is a student here who is done with his theology degree after this summer and he preaches quite a bit. When ever we are talking about something that is off the wall or we see something funny he always says that that would be a good sermon illustration. So we make fun of him just a little and find sermon illustrations for him.)

Dr. Stephanavich (sp?)

While we were still on the smooth road we came to a sign that told us in Greek that we were on the right track. This is the Hebrew teacher, he is really cool and very caring, like a father figure. He is not from the United States, and he lived in the Philippines for a long time when he grew up as a missionary.

the monastery

the door to the sanctuary and the picture of Elijah

Finally we got to the top where the monastery was located. We said good morning in Greek to some workers who were replacing the bell tower and then went in to check out the church. It is a very small church and has lots of pictures. They believe in icons, the Catholic church says that they are idols just as the Orthodox says that the Catholic’s statues are idols. They both claim that they help enhance the worship experience so whatever. There are also different rooms, there is the front room that they call the sanctuary, and then there is a little farther in another room which is called the holy place (I think this is where the actual “service” takes place), and then there is the most holy place farther in behind big doors. Only the priests are allowed in the most holy place, I don’t even think the monks are allowed in there. (Priests here have a lot of political power and are very important since Orthodox is the country religion, they even have more money than the government!)

the side room (far left: John, standing: Garrett, far right: Anna, and behind Anna is Austin and Greg

The monk came in and kicked us out of the church and led us to a little room on the side. They had cold water for us and turkish delight. The water of course was to hydrate us and the turkish delight was to give us electrolytes. Turkish delight is pretty common around here, you can buy it in the grocery store near us (I would bring some home but I only like some of the flavors and I can’t find those packaged all by themselves). Once we had rested and the Hebrew teacher had given us a little lesson in Orthodoxy we headed out to the front of the monastery for our own church.

(We got a bunch of really fun jumping pictures, but Anna has the best versions so I am waiting for her to give them for me. She has a really big test tomorrow for Hebrew, so sometime after that!)