Starting from the village of Kallithea on Samos, tighten your belt and strike out for Mount Kerkis on an excursion you will never forget. Following an uphill trek of 500 metres, you will come to the church of Panagia Makrini. Resting 823 metres above sea level, the climb to the church is well worth the effort. Constructed in a cave in the mid-9th century, the little church contains murals from the 14th century. Sheltered from the elements, the serene white of the church exterior has endured for centuries. You will notice the troughs and large clay jars in the lower section of the 15-metre cave that collect water dripping from the tips of stalactites. This water is then blessed. The Panagia Makrini is inextricably bound to the island’s ascetic traditions; indeed, Saint Pavlos Latrinos lived here for a time. The surrounding landscape is conducive to prayer and meditation. The views from its courtyard could well be what the world looks like from heaven.
TEXT : GEORGIA DRAKAKIS | PHOTO : THOMAS JASTRAM, GREECE MOMENTS . COM