Ritual at sunset

October 22, 2006

In the plateia near the library there is a little chapel that is always locked. I have peeked in all the windows, sometimes tried the handles late at night when I was walking home tipsily from Pirate in the times before when I lived here.

I had only seen it open once, last March when a funeral procession marched through it. The candles reflected dimly in the black cross on the lid of the coffin. I hurried quickly past.

I stopped trying the doors eventually. All the other chapels I’ve managed to get into at least once to light a candle, but this one eluded me. Tonight, after a gorgeous day in which I wrote a lot of code and listened to some great music and enjoyed the sun on the water, I headed out for some provisions and my path took me past it. I heard the singing before I could see that the doors of the little chapel were open and spilled over with people, candles blazing, chairs lined up in the plateia for all the people who could not fit in the single room. The priest’s voice lilted over the paving stones and my steps slowed as I grew nearer. He paused, and the congregation sang back:

Kyrie eleison.

There were babies on laps and people were smiling and I walked across the plateia and stopped just around the corner where I could watch unseen, listening to the priest and marvelling at the light from so many candles. Eventually I continued on my way to Erica’s and asked her when I got there if it was someone’s name today.

“Yes, Jakob, tomorrow.”

So, after my two weeks of drizzle and grey and futile melancholy, the little chapel I had identified for so long with a mysterious funeral opened itself wide and let all its secrets spill out into a celebration, and it seems so fitting. I feel like celebrating too.

  • CATEGORY: Greece

2 thoughts on “Ritual at sunset”

  1. Brianna
    I literally stumbled onto your wonderful website while trying to figure out how to eat a pomegranate. I am so happy that I did. I have spent the last 20 minutes reading your captivating words……you truly have a gift. I want to extend my sympathies to you in the loss of your Mom….I lost my Dad and your words were so fitting, so calming and so reflective.
    Thank you for letting others share your wonderful thoughts and words….
    Enjoy your time in Greece…I am so glad you saw inside the chapel…
    Elyzabeth Hackathorn

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