Welcome to Meteora, the ‘town in the middle of the sky’ in Greece

Source: news.com.au

Ancient monastery in Meteora, Greece.

Ancient monastery in Meteora, Greece. Source: ThinkStock

A FEW hours outside Athens sits the rock-top monasteries of Meteora.

The word “meteora” means “middle of the sky”, or “in the heavens above”, and these people certainly mean it!

The town is a really important spiritual site, but it’s also a big draw for the less-religiously-more-naturally inclined.

Check it out.


The Holy Trinity Monastery.

The Holy Trinity Monastery. Source: ThinkStock

You can climb up steps to the monasteries for a quick rush, and once you’re up there, you can move between them via, essentially, a rope railway


Cable car between monasteries at Meteora.

Cable car between monasteries at Meteora. Source: ThinkStock


The sheer cliff face. Picture: Carlos Pinto 73

The sheer cliff face. Picture: Carlos Pinto 73 Source: Flickr

Not for the faint of heart in the least.


Meteora monastery and lifting cage.

Meteora monastery and lifting cage. Source: ThinkStock

But it’s a really pretty spot, and if you’re in the area, you should visit.


What a sight.

What a sight. Source: ThinkStock

See ya later, Meteora!

This article originally appeared on the HuffingtonPost.


Just a walk in the park ... Picture: GOC53

Just a walk in the park … Picture: GOC53 Source: Flickr


Worth a look. Picture: Cod — Gabriel

Worth a look. Picture: Cod — Gabriel Source: Flickr


Meteora is high above.

Meteora is high above. Source: ThinkStock

Wagga-born actor Lex Marinos to release mid-year penned a memoir Blood and Circuses

Source: dailyadvertiser.com.au

MEMOIR: Wagga-born actor Lex Marinos has penned a memoir which is set to be released in July this year. Picture: Ross Coffey

MEMOIR: Wagga-born actor Lex Marinos has penned a memoir which is set to be released in July this year. Picture: Ross Coffey

WAGGA-born actor Lex Marinos has penned a memoir Blood and Circuses about his childhood and more than three decades in front of the camera.

The book is expected to be released in July.

According to publisher Allen and Unwin, the book tells the story of “a young Greek Australian boy, whose family ran a cafe in Wagga in the ’50s and who dreamt of making his life in theatre a dream that came to pass by accident and design.”

Mr Marinos is probably best known for playing Bruno in Kingswood Country opposite Ted Bullpitt from 1979 to 1984 but he has also acted in classic Australian television dramas Water Rats and A Country Practice.

More recently, Mr Marinos has appeared on ABC television’s The Slap.

Mr Marinos, 65, spoke to the Advertiser briefly about the book but said readers would have to wait until its mid-year release.

A spokeswoman for Allen and Unwin said the book contrasted “Mr Marinos’s experience of being a Greek boy at a time when being a ‘dago’ meant suffering schoolyard abuse with his wildly successful career”.

Leaving Wagga in 1963, Mr Marinos studied drama at the University of New South Wales before starring and directing a number of television shows in the ’80s and early ’90s a contribution which saw him awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

“More than anything else it is a vivid account (of his life), beautifully written by a much-loved Australian,” an Allen and Unwin spokeswoman said.

Labor, Liberal commit to $70,000 to build a commercial kitchen at Unley’s St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Parish

Source: adelaidenow.com.au

Volunteers Anastasia, of Unley and Helen, of Unley, with St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Paris

Volunteers Anastasia, of Unley and Helen, of Unley, with St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Parish priest John Psalios, are pleased the church will be able to build a commercial kitchen to help feed the homeless. Source: News Limited

AN UNLEY church will be able to build a kitchen to feed the homeless no matter which party wins next month’s state election.

Both major parties have promised $70,000 for a commercial kitchen at St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Parish.

Meals will be delivered to the Adelaide Day Centre for Homeless Persons, in Moore St, in the city.

Unley state Liberal MP David Pisoni and Labor candidate Lara Golding announced the funding commitment at the Unley Greek Festival this month.

The promises come after the Federal Government axed a $68,000 grant in December when it scaled back its Building Multicultural Communities program by more than $1.4 million.

Parish priest John Psalios welcomed the funding commitment.

He would work closely with the Moore St day centre to deliver meals each weekday.

“We supply soup and other things to the centre about once a week during winter, when there is greater need,” Father Psalios said.

“Our capacity would be increased so we could cook meals for them throughout the year.

“We’re grateful to both parties for their generosity and hope that the money does come through.”

Mr Pisoni said if the Liberals won the March 15 election, the multicultural grants scheme would be expanded to $1 million, with money for the church kitchen coming from there.

“I met with Father John so I was able to explain to (Opposition Leader) Steven Marshall the importance of the church to the community,” Mr Pisoni said.

Ms Golding said the church’s services were vital to the community.

“This funding is vital for the church to continue to provide services and meals for the homeless on a regular basis,” Ms Golding said.

“I met with Father John earlier this month and I was really impressed with the level of community involvement he encouraged.”

Mr Pisoni holds Unley with a 11.9 per cent margin.

Mary Coustas and husband George Betsis share their baby joy after ten years of trying to conceive

Source: news.com.au

Mary Coustas’ struggle to become a mother has been marred by tragedy, but she finally announces some wonderful news. Excerpt courtesy of Sixty Minutes, Nine Network

MARY Coustas has given the world the first look at her precious baby girl – the daughter she and husband George Betsis waited ten years to meet.

In an emotional interview with 60 Minutes last night, the delighted new parents showed off their pride and joy, Jamie Betsis, who they welcomed to the world in November last year.

It was a happy follow-up to the heartbreaking interview the pair gave in August last year which detailed their decade of trying to conceive via IVF and the tragic setbacks they endured along the way.

“We didn’t assume that we would get the happy ending,” Coustas told Channel Nine last night.

“I mean many people don’t and we were looking like we were not going to get it.”

Mary Coustas and baby Jamie. Picture: Channel Nine

Mary Coustas and baby Jamie. Picture: Channel Nine Source: Supplied

Back in August, Coustas who is known for her portrayal of TV personality Effie, told of how she endured almost 20 separate IVF treatments and numerous miscarriages in her attempt to fall pregnant.

She also shared her devastating experience of having to go through a selective reduction process after falling pregnant with triplets only to eventually give birth to one, a stillborn baby girl she named Stevie.

“I still went back to Greece on three occasions after Stevie,” she said. “I still did six other attempts after Stevie to get Jamie.

“That’s a lot, that’s more than most people do to get one child, the first time they do IVF.

“And yet I’m sure I’ve done over 20 IVFs. I don’t even dare to find out the amount.”

Mary Coustas, affectionately known to most Australians as Effie, revealed her heartbreaki

Mary Coustas, affectionately known to most Australians as Effie, revealed her heartbreaking struggle to become a mother in an interview last August. Picture: 60 Minutes Source: Supplied

Proud dad Betsis said they were never going to give up on their chance of being parents until they had exhausted every opportunity.

“I think experiences like this, you discover your limits and you test your limits and we didn’t want to have any regrets later to say that we didn’t fully exhaust every ounce of our energy and being to get there,” he said.

Jamie was born on the 25th November last year in the same ward in the same hospital as Effie lost her Stevie at 22 weeks.

“When (Jamie) appeared it was such an overwhelming feeling of proof of all that effort, all that not giving up was finally there personified in this prize and she was just adorable. It was just the most intravenous feeling of ‘yes it happened. It actually happened’.

Baby Jamie was born on November 25 last year.

Baby Jamie was born on November 25 last year. Source: Supplied

“I had nothing to worry about anymore. It’s like for the last decade we’ve been sitting in a room with the lights out and then finally someone came and switched the lights on.

“Nothing good comes out of giving up. If I’d given up we wouldn’t have gotten to this.

So the question on everyone’s lips is would the pair do it again for a chance at a sibling for Jamie?

“I don’t know whether we could do it again,” said Coustas. “I cant see it.”

Added Betsis: “I don’t know, I think we’re pretty happy right now.”


Mary Coustas shows off her long-awaited baby girl

Mary Coustas, George Betsis and their gorgeous daughter Jamie. Picture: Channel Nine Source: Supplied

Mary Coustas in character as "Effie".

Mary Coustas in character as “Effie”. Source: News Limited

Greek Orthodox patriarch orders U.S. leader to solve Salt Lake church dispute

Source: sltrib.com

The conflict between the parish council and clergy at the Salt Lake Valley’s two Greek Orthodox churches has reached that faith’s highest authority: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

The patriarch, who lives in Turkey, instructed Archbishop Demetrios, who oversees the American Greek church, “to solve the problem immediately,” according to a recent article in The National Herald, a weekly Greek-American publication in New York.

At issue in the four-year-long battle is the plan to divide the valley’s parish into two, a move that was pushed by the Denver-based Metropolitan Isaiah and two priests — the Rev. Michael Kouremetis at Holladay’s Prophet Elias Church and the Rev. Matthew Gilbert at Salt Lake City’s Holy Trinity — but which the majority of parishioners oppose.

In mid-December, the parish council voted not to fund Kouremetis’ salary. A month later, a scuffle broke out between the priest’s supporters and opponents during services at Prophet Elias.

On Feb. 5, Demetrios, “summoned Isaiah to the Archdiocesan headquarters in New York, telling him of the patriarch’s disappointment,” The Herald reported. “The message was clear that the Patriarchate will not tolerate the dissolvent of any parish in the United States.”

The next day, Demetrios Tsagaris, the head of Salt Lake Valley’s parish council, explained to the archbishop his perspective on the escalating tensions with the clergy.

“Although the day-to-day functions of our churches are being attended to by our office staff and director George Kournianos, we no longer have open communication with our clergy. … All priests are apparently under direction from Metropolitan Isaiah to not participate in matters concerning the administration of the parish,” Tsagaris wrote in a letter to parishioners as quoted in The Herald. “Despite multiple attempts, in person, via phone and email, to engage Father Matthew to participate in community matters and parish council meetings he has elected not to attend.”

The newspaper reported that Kouremetis was up for appointments to Greek Orthodox parishes in Florida and New Jersey, but “there was resistance from parishioners” in those states.

And though some Utah Greeks would like to see Gilbert move as well, The Herald said, his newly ordained son Chrysostomos, who works at church headquarters in New York, “has intervened and stopped his transfer, for now.”

Tsagaris believes that the impasse is now in good hands, he wrote to the parish.

“Your parish council is in weekly communication with the Archdiocese. Metropolitan Isaiah has removed himself as our spiritual leader and we now await further intervention from the Archdiocese.”

NBC has bathed its version of The Slap in the green glow of success by green lighting the full eight part series.

Source: artshub.com.au

US remake for The Slap

US remake for The Slap

The award-winning Australian series produced by Matchbox for the ABC was based on the novel of the same name by Christos Tsiolkas.

NBCU, the parent company for Matchbox, plucked it from the various offers from its worldwide network of boutique companies to re-concieve it for the US market. The eight episode series went into development in mid-2012 and has this week NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters at the Television Critics Association that the network has ordered The Slap together with its 75th anniversary retelling of The Wizard of Oz, entitled Emerald City.

Though Matchbox principal Tony Ayres has signed on as an Executive Producer, the US version has been completely rewritten by Jon Robin Baitz, known to us for The West Wing.

The suburban story begins at a backyard barbecue when an unrelated adult slaps a misbehaving child. The fallout leaves friends and family relationships in ruins. Tsiolkas set the story in a Greek Australian family with a racially-diverse group of characters, who were reproduced in the television series.

In directing some of the Australian production Matt Saville (below) emphasised the story’s Australian character and its ‘healthy cynicism towards political correctness’.

Both aspects will challenge the US remake.


100 years have passed, 1914 the year when Europe became embroiled in the Great War, a conflict that was essentially a civil war among nations if we look at it in retrospect

Source: Kathimerini

From 1914 to 2014

From 1914 to 2014

Fighting on the Western Front during the Great War in Europe.

A whole century has passed since 1914, the year when Europe became embroiled in the Great War, a conflict that was essentially a civil war among nations if we look at it in retrospect. Greece more particularly sank into a period of turmoil known as the National Schism over differences of opinion regarding what role the country had to take in World War I.

In most ways 2014 is much different to 1914, but there are a few similarities, mostly regarding the crucial issues that arise from the historical circumstances.

Challenges that we stand before today much as we did back in 1914 include the ever-widening gap between rich and poor and growing inequality within society, the geopolitical upheaval on the fringes of Europe, an economic crisis that seems nowhere close to coming to an end and the emergence of new forces on a global level.

In this historical watershed, Greece needs to make some crucial decisions about its fate and about how it will manoeuvre itself into a more propitious position so that it can curb its losses and achieve an equilibrium in what is a radically new set of circumstances.

The European Union is no longer the safe haven it was in 1974 when Greece emerged from the dictatorship nor what it was in 1980, when the country signed the accession treaty to join the European Economic Union. Everything about Europe has changed, from its identity and its orientation to the internal balance of power at play.
The non-European part of the Mediterranean, meanwhile, is also changing drastically: the dramatic developments in war-torn Syria, embattled Egypt and fractured Libya most decidedly concern and have an effect on Greece. Even the crisis that has started to emerge in Ukraine will have consequences for Greece, not to mention, of course, the political turmoil in neighbouring Turkey.

Here in Greece, the deep economic crisis has revealed the magnitude of the political crisis, not just in the structures and institutions of the state but also in terms of national self-determination and long-term goal-setting. In this sense alone we can make parallels with 1914, and it is in this sense also that we should closely examine the consequences of the choices made 100 years ago on our geopolitical position and on our prospects in the 20th century.
We need to look at 2014 in the same way – without blinkers. Like then, we are at a historical threshold with new social formations and new geopolitical relations emerging to the fore.

The last thing we need is to expend our energies on internal divisions.