06 August, 2012

Thank you Agia Mavra!!!

     I don't consider myself a very religious person. I believe in God. Maybe not like an old guy sitting in the clouds and watching over everyone, but I do believe there is something out there. Some sort of force that will guide us once we are done with this world... Maybe like heaven or hell, but maybe not. I am not sure how to explain it, but I do believe there is no way I'll die and that that will be the end of me. It is just... impossible!!! My faith could be described as blasphemy by some people, but it is how I feel, and I can't change it. I was always like this, ever since I was a teenager. But one thing that keeps me thinking of myself as Christian Orthodox is the feeling I got a few times when I was in a holy place, praying for the things that only a 'higher force' can help with. 
     One of those times was in September 2009. I was on the island of  Zakynthos in Greece, and we were on a tour with the agency, familiarizing ourselves with the island. One of many places we visited was the Church of Agia Mavra. I tried googling it and finding more information, but it was in vain, because it kept bringing me to some villages and no information about why this has so much importance to me. That is why I will have to explain it to you, instead of just copying it. I can not recall the whole story, and the friend I was with is useless when it comes to memorizing things, so from my memory, the legend is that the church was burnt, a fresco of Agia Mavra survived, it is very old etc. What is the key for this story is that people from all over Greece come here to pray for themselves and their loved ones. There is a story about a woman who came to pray for the health of her son who was dying. A few weeks/months later, she came back and passed the way from the gate to the doors on her knees, left some gold on that fresco and was very grateful, because her son lived, and was healthy again.
     I didn't doubt that is what actually happened. i didn't think it had much to do with Agia Mavra as well, but looking at her face in that fresco, I felt... weird. I though maybe it is true. Maybe it is just an accident. It couldn't hurt to pray for that one thing I wanted most at that time. And I did pray, and I promised that if it actually happened, I would come back one day. It did happen, less than two years later I became an aunt, and I never forgot that I should say thank you.
     And just a week ago I did. My friend Uros was on the island at the same time as I did, and he drove me to the church. It is funny actually, because we met in 2009, on the same island we were on this summer :D We went there around 11.30AM, and he waited for me in the car while I went in. I had a completely inexplicable feeling while I was entering the church. First thing I did was buy 10 candles, and lit them up for the health of my loved ones, and my beautiful niece and nephew, and my own health and happiness.. Then I took some pictures (I asked the man who was selling the candles and frescoes if I could!) and told the man why I was there. I am not sure did he understand a word I said, but while I was saying I was there to give my gratefulness (is that a word?),  I suddenly became overwhelmed and teared up. I was pretty shocked, because I didn't expect to be that emotional, but it happened. I didn't cry, but if I had talked a bit more about it, I would've started crying like a baby. I also brought with me a small golden tag that I didn't think I would leave there, but somehow it felt right at that moment, so I left it on the box that had the old fresco of Agia Mavra inside.

     Uros found it entertaining that I almost started crying, but that didn't make me less grateful for the favor he did by driving me there. I know he knows, but here is another THANK YOU!!!!!

    To conclude this post, here are some pictures of the church:

Oh, and I must say I am very proud of myself! In a year I did:

10/100!!! Yaaay