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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-15

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece observes major religious holiday, peak of summer season

  • [01] Greece observes major religious holiday, peak of summer season

    The annual Dormition of the Theotokos (Assumption of the Virgin) religious holiday in the predominately Orthodox Christian nation -- one of the most significant on the ecclesiastical calendar and the unofficial culmination of the summer vacation season in Greece -- again witnessed a virtual exodus of urbanites towards the country's numerous beaches, mountainous villages and islands.

    Greek leadership, meanwhile, also took the opportunity to visit a handful of islands, especially the Cyclades island of Tinos, where the Feast of the Assumption is celebrated in distinct Byzantine splendor.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday was on hand for the festive church service in the township of Ayiasos, on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, a service officiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos himself, as the Istanbul-based "primus inter pares" of Orthodox Patriarchs began an almost week-long visit to the island over the weekend.

    As is customary, the country's prime minister represented the government at the ecclesiastical services on Tinos, and specifically at the island's cathedral, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

    Premier Costas Karamanlis, who was accompanied by his wife and several high-ranking government officials, noted that this year's religious commemoration "is even more timely, as fellow human beings in Lebanon are losing their lives or are forced to abandon their homes ... An immediate end should be given to this tragedy, and we're working towards this direction with all our forces and at all levels," he said.

    On his part, Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos laid a wreath in the waters off Tinos' harbour on the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the torpedo attack against the Hellenic Navy warship "Elli", which was docked at the same port for similar festivities a few months before Greece entered WWII on the side of the Allies.

    In northern Greece, Pontian (Black Sea) Greeks' most revered religious site within the country, the Panaghia Soumela Monastery in the foothills of Mount Vermio, was again host to celebratory Aug. 15 events, with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece officiating at the relevant ecclesiastical service, attended by thousands of pilgrims and practically the sum of MPs and politicians elected in the Macedonia province and wider Thessaloniki.

    Finally, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou attended services on Paros, and specifically at the Cyclades island's renowned Ekatontapyliani Cathedral. He also referred to the Mideast crisis in brief statements, saying that while "the guns have silenced, the road to peace is long".

    Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis also attended church services on Paros.

    Caption: A religious procession outside the island of Tinos' main cathedral on Tuesday was the highlight of the annual Dormition of the Virgin service. Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife, Natasa, are seen walking behind the procession of Orthodox priests. Aug. 15, 2006. ANA-MPA / H. Laskaris.

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