Friday, January 9, 2009

Greece Pilgrimage

A pilgrim is one who undertakes a pilgrimage, literally 'far afield'. This is traditionally a visit to a place of some religious or historic significance; often a considerable distance is traveled. Examples include a Christian or Jew visiting Jerusalem or a Muslim visiting Mecca. No religion has laid greater stress on the duty of a pilgrim than Islam in the Hajj. In the United States the word "Pilgrims" usually refers to the European settlers of New England, who celebrated the "First Thanksgiving" with the Native Americans in 1621

Greece is the true amalgamation of cultures, colors and civilizations that are not only diverse in nature but rich in history and heritage. Much before most of the world was still trying to break out of its cocoon Greece was known to have already developed its birthright through the elements of chaos, drama, tragedy and democracy. Combined with its deep respect for its ancient traditions, it still believes in the proclivity to partying, an inheritance that has been brought down from the Dionysos.

This pilgrimage, just like previous ones, will be a wonderful and spiritual experience of the roots of Christianity as we stand and pray at the Biblical sites. Inspired by the True Life in God Messages, we welcome the opportunity to live and worship in unity with all Christians, as well as other faiths, irrespective of denominations, nationalities or "man-made" dividers.

Tinos, part of the Cycladic archipelago some 120 km (75 miles) from Athens, attracts around 1 million visitors a year to its church of the Virgin Mary, whose icon is revered in Greece's Orthodox Church for its reputed healing powers. Many pilgrims, especially at the August 15 height of the pilgrimage, crawl nearly a kilometer from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as a sign of devotion. Many fulfill a pledge to light a candle as tall as themselves.

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