This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization

The recent discovery of the grave of an ancient soldier is challenging accepted wisdom among archaeologists

The warrior was buried in an olive grove outside the acropolis of Pylos. Though archaeologist Carl Blegen explored the olive grove in the 1960s, he did not find anything. (Myrto Papadopoulos)

They had been digging for days, shaded from the Greek sun by a square of green tarpaulin slung between olive trees. The archaeologists used picks to break the cream-colored clay, baked as hard as rock, until what began as a cluster of stones just visible in the dirt became four walls in a neat rectangle, sinking down into the earth. Little more than the occasional animal bone, however, came from the soil itself. On the morning of May 28, 2015, the sun gave way to an unseasonable drizzle. The pair digging that day, Flint Dibble and Alison Fields, waited for the rain to clear, then stepped down into their meter-deep hole and got to work. Dibble looked at Fields. “It’s got to be soon,” he said.

The season had not started well. The archaeologists were part of a group of close to three dozen researchers digging near the ancient Palace of Nestor, on a hilltop near Pylos on the southwest coast of Greece. The palace was built in the Bronze Age by the Mycenaeans—the heroes described in Homer’s epic poems—and was first excavated in the 1930s. The dig’s leaders, Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, husband-and-wife archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati, in Ohio, had hoped to excavate in a currant field just downslope from the palace, but Greek bureaucracy and a lawyers’ strike kept them from obtaining the necessary permits. So they settled, disappointed, on a neighboring olive grove. They cleared the land of weeds and snakes and selected a few spots to investigate, including three stones that appeared to form a corner. As the trench around the stones sank deeper, the researchers allowed themselves to grow eager: The shaft’s dimensions, two meters by one meter, suggested a grave, and Mycenaean burials are famous for their breathtakingly rich contents, able to reveal volumes about the culture that produced them. Still, there was no proof that this structure was even ancient, the archaeologists reminded themselves, and it might simply be a small cellar or shed.

Dibble was clearing earth from around a large stone slab when his pick hit something hard and the monotony of the clay was broken by a vivid flash of green: bronze.

The pair immediately put down their picks, and after placing an excited call to Davis and Stocker they began to carefully sweep up the soil and dust. They knew they were standing atop something substantial, but even then they did not imagine just how rich the discovery would turn out to be.“It was amazing,” says Stocker, a small woman in her 50s with dangling earrings and blue-gray eyes. “People had been walking across this field for three-and-a-half-thousand years.”

Over the next six months, the archaeologists uncovered bronze basins, weapons and armor, but also a tumble of even more precious items, including gold and silver cups; hundreds of beads made of carnelian, amethyst, amber and gold; more than 50 stone seals intricately carved with goddesses, lions and bulls; and four stunning gold rings. This was indeed an ancient grave, among the most spectacular archaeological discoveries in Greece in more than half a century—and the researchers were the first to open it since the day it was filled in.

“It’s incredible luck,” says John Bennet, director of the British School at Athens. “The fact that it hadn’t been discovered before now is astonishing.” The spectacular find of priceless treasures made headlines around the globe, but what really intrigues scholars, says Stocker, is the “bigger world picture.” The very first organized Greek society belonged to the Mycenaeans, whose kingdoms exploded out of nowhere on the Greek mainland around 1600 B.C. Although they disappeared equally dramatically a few hundred years later, giving way to several centuries known as the Greek Dark Ages, before the rise of “classical” Greece, the Mycenaeans sowed the seeds of our common traditions, including art and architecture, language, philosophy and literature, even democracy and religion. “This was a crucial time in the development of what would become Western civilization,” Stocker says.

Yet remarkably little is known of the beginnings of Mycenaean culture. The Pylos grave, with its wealth of undisturbed burial objects and, at its bottom, a largely intact skeleton, offers a nearly unprecedented window into this time—and what it reveals is calling into question our most basic ideas about the roots of Western civilization.

Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, husband-and-wife archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati, discovered the warrior’s grave. (Andrew Spear)

In The Iliad, Homer tells of how Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, led a fleet of a thousand ships to besiege the city of Troy. Classical Greeks (and Romans, who traced their heritage to the Trojan hero Aeneas) accepted the stories in The Iliad and The Odyssey as a part of their national histories, but in later centuries scholars insisted that the epic battles fought between the Trojan and Mycenaean kingdoms were nothing more than myth and romantic fantasy. Before the eighth century B.C., archaeologists argued, societies on the Greek mainland were scattered and disorganized.

At the end of the 19th century, a German-born businessman named Heinrich Schliemann was determined to prove otherwise. He used clues in Homer’s epic poems to locate the remains of Troy, buried in a hillside at Hissarlik in Turkey. He then turned his attention to the Greek mainland, hoping to find the palace of Agamemnon. Near the ruins of the great walls at Mycenae, in the Argolid Peninsula, Schliemann found a circle of graves containing the remains of 19 men, women and children, all dripping with gold and other riches. He hadn’t found Agamemnon—the graves, nearly 3,500 years old, dated to several centuries before the battles of Troy—but he had unearthed a great, lost civilization, which he called the Mycenaean, after the sovereign city of the powerful mythic king.

Homer describes other palaces, too, notably that of King Nestor, at Pylos. The Iliad says Nestor contributed 90 ships to Agamemnon’s fleet, second only to the great leader himself. Schliemann searched in vain for Nestor’s palace; in modern Pylos, a sleepy coastal town in the southwest Peloponnese, there was no hint of ancient architecture, unlike at Mycenae. But in the 1920s, a landowner noticed old stone blocks near the summit of a hill near Pylos, and Konstantinos Kourouniotis, director of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, invited his friend and collaborator Carl Blegen, of the University of Cincinnati, to investigate.

Blegen began excavations in April 1939. On his very first day, he uncovered a hoard of clay tablets, filled with an unreadable script known as Linear B, which had also been found on Crete, the largest of the Aegean islands. He had dug straight into the archive room of King Nestor’s palace. After World War II, Blegen went on to discover a grid of rooms and courtyards that rivals Mycenae in size and is now the best-preserved Bronze Age palace on the Greek mainland, not to mention a significant tourist attraction.

Today, Blegen’s work at Pylos is continued by Stocker and Davis (his official title is the Carl W. Blegen professor of Greek archaeology). Davis walks with me to the hilltop, and we pause to enjoy the gorgeous view of olive groves and cypress trees rolling down to a jewel-blue sea. Davis has white-blond hair, freckles and a dry sense of humor, and he is steeped in the history of the place: Alongside Stocker, he has been working in this area for 25 years. As we look out to sea, he points out the island of Sphacteria, where the Athenians beat the Spartans during a fifth-century B.C. battle of the Peloponnesian War.

Behind us, Nestor’s palace is surrounded by flowering oleander trees and is covered with an impressive new metal roof, completed just in time for the site’s reopening to the public in June 2016 after a three-year, multimillion-euro restoration. The roof’s graceful white curves protect the ruins from the elements, while a raised walkway allows visitors to admire the floor plan. The stone walls of the palace now rise just a meter from the ground, but it was originally a vast two-story complex, built around 1450 B.C., that covered more than 15,000 square feet and was visible for miles. Visitors would have passed through an open courtyard into a large throne room, Davis explains, with a central hearth for offerings and decorated with elaborately painted scenes including lions, griffins and a bard playing a lyre.

The Linear B tablets found by Blegen, deciphered in the 1950s, revealed that the palace was an administrative center that supported more than 50,000 people in an area covering all of modern-day Messenia in western Greece. Davis points out storerooms and pantries in which thousands of unused ceramic wine cups were found, as well as workshops for the production of leather and perfumed oils.

Echoes of Homer are everywhere. In The Odyssey, when Odysseus’ son Telemachus visits Pylos, he finds the inhabitants on the shore sacrificing bulls to the god Poseidon, before traveling to the palace to receive a bath from one of Nestor’s daughters. Tablets and animal bones that Blegen found in the archives room recall a feast in which 11 cattle were sacrificed to Poseidon, while on the other side of the building is a perfectly preserved terra-cotta bathtub, its interior painted with a repeating spiral motif.

Source: smithsonianmag

Open Seminar: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucids

PRESS RELEASE ​​                           


Greek History and Culture Seminars

In the Garden of Gods: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucedes

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, senior lecturer in Classical Studies at Monash, will present a lecture entitled “In the Garden of Gods: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucedes”, at the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, on Thursday 6 April 2017 at 7:00pm, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

“My presentation, drawing on chapter four of my recent book In the Garden of the Gods, discusses the appropriation of eastern cults by Seleucus I Nicator and his son Antiochus in their struggle to establish their dynasty,” says Ms Anagnostou-Laoutides. “I examine the roles of Zeus and Apollo, the foremost divine protectors of the Seleucids, against near eastern royal traditions. I argue that the founding members of the dynasty had an intimate knowledge of Babylonian traditions that celebrated Šamaš, the Sun god, as protector of royal legitimacy and Marduk as warrantor of military supremacy and that they employed these traditions meticulously to promote their claim to kingship.”

By encouraging the identification of Marduk and Nabû with Zeus and Apollo respectively, Seleucus and Antiochus mirrored the father-son relationship of the gods.

She will also examines the importance of royal gardens under the Seleucids in connection with “sacred marriage” and akītu (New Year) ceremonies which the Hellenistic kings embraced enthusiastically.    

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides holds degrees in Classical Studies from Aristotle University, the University of Leeds and the University of Kent at Canterbury as well as in Ancient History from Macquarie University. She has published extensively on various aspects of ancient mythology and religion and their appropriation in ancient political agendas. Her most recent book is In the Garden of the Gods: Models of Kingship from the Sumerians to the Seleucids (London and New York: Routledge, 2017). Recently she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship on a project that examines Platonic inebriation and its reception in late antiquity and the Middle Ages.  


When: Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 7.00pm

Where: Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne)

FREE Admission

More info: or +61 3 9662 2722


More information: 9662 2722

Level 3, 168 Lonsdale St., Melbourne, Vic. 3000

Phone: +61 3 9662 2722, Email:, 

A Surprise City in Thessaly

Trenches Greece Vlochos siteTrenches Greece Vlochos potsherd(SIA/EFAK/YPPOA)

Top: Site of Vlochos, Greece; Above: Potsherd Archaeologists have identified the unexpected remains of a large, 2,500-year-old Greek settlement in western Thessaly.
The existence of the hilltop site, near the modern village of Vlochos, had been known for more than two centuries, but had never been systematically investigated. 

Although large defensive walls were visible in some places, experts had long believed that the ancient settlement was fairly insignificant. This opinion changed when a Greek-Swedish team recently discovered the existence of a complex urban center. 

The team was stunned when the results of their geophysical survey indicated that the ancient site is spread across 100 acres and boasts an organized, orthogonal, or gridded street plan. 

Scholars believe that the town flourished in the fourth and third centuries B.C. before being abandoned. 

“The work at Vlochos gives a rare insight into the development and outline of a typical Thessalian city,” says University of Gothenburg archaeologist Robin Rönnlund.

“It shows that even midsize settlements of this region were quite sophisticated in their spatial outline.”

Secrets of Hanging Rock: Eerie location of haunting tale about schoolgirls who vanished on St Valentines Day 1900

Strange things happened when Picnic at Hanging Rock producer Pat Lovell visiting the actual rock in Victoria.

FIFTY years ago this week a writer called Joan Lindsay published a mystery book about a group of schoolgirls who vanished on St Valentines Day 1900.

The place where the girls disappeared was one of Australia’s most eerie locations, Hanging Rock.

Often shrouded in mist, it’s also shrouded in mystery with baffling and unexplained incidents happening close to the rock.

The six million year old rare volcanic formation rises up on a plain between two tiny townships 70km northwest of Melbourne.

Less commonly known as Mount Diogenes, it comprises several distinctive outcrops including the ‘Hanging Rock’, a boulder suspended between other boulders under which is the main entrance path. Close by are other rock formations — the Colonnade, the Eagle and the UFO.

It was a sacred Aboriginal site for the Wurundjeri people and well-known to Lindsay who reportedly felt it had a mystical power.

Her book Picnic at Hanging Rock was published on April 3, 1967, and was made into Peter Weir’s award-winning 1975 film.

According to a new book to be published this week to mark the 50th anniversary of Lindsay’s novel, when Weir’s crew went to the rock to shoot the film strange things happened.

An edited extract of Beyond the Rock, by Janelle McCullough published in Good Weekend describes Weir and producer Pat Lovell meeting Joan Lindsay in 1973 and buying her book’s film rights for $100.

Strange things happened when Picnic at Hanging Rock producer Pat Lovell visiting the actual rock in Victoria.Source:Supplied

The actual ‘Hanging Rock’ among the formations on Mount Diogenes northwest of Melbourne.Source:Supplied

Anne Louise Lambert (foreground) as Miranda in the 1975 mystery film Picnic At Hanging Rock.Source:News Corp Australia

Lambert revisits the rock in 2002, 27 years after starring in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock. Picture: Shaney Balcombe. Source:News Corp Australia

The next day they travelled to Hanging Rock, getting lost en route and approaching from the wrong side where the formation loomed in front of them beneath a cloud.

“Immediately, they sensed the eeriness of the place,” McCullough writes. “Lovell was immediately uneasy.

“The rock ‘seemed so alien to the rest of the countryside’.

“At the picnic grounds at the base of the rock, her watch inexplicably stopped.

“It was the first of many times this would happen, either at Hanging Rock or around Joan herself.”

A place known locally in the town of Woodend, near Hanging Rock, as “Anti-Gravity Hill” purports to feature a strange and baffling phenomenon. claims that if a person stands on Straws Lane facing up the hill and tips water onto the road it flows “up the hill” not downhill A ball placed on the road will do the same thing and roll up the hill.

During filming at Hanging Rock itself, Weir described the effect where the light that streamed down through the trees was only visible for one hour of the day, when the sun was in the exact spot.

Picnic at Hanging Rock director Peter Weir on set making the film in 1975. Picture: Archive News Corp.Source:News Limited

One of the ‘faces’ among the formations at Hanging Rock which rises up from the plains northwest of Melbourne. Picture:

The scene where the four girls take off to explore Hanging Rock and things turn weird.Source:News Limited

Lindsay, who was occasionally on set during filming, would only say when asked about her book’s plot, “some of it is true and some of it isn’t”.

Despite many attempts to find a historic account of the disappearing schoolgirls, no-one has succeeded and it seems that only the locations are real.

There is one record of a young man falling and dying from Hanging Rock in the early 1900s, but this was recorded and solved and had no connection to the Hanging Rock story.

In 1907, a 19-year-old man murdered another man near the rock and was caught by police.

Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is the story of schoolgirls from the fictional Appleyard College for Young Ladies’ school near the real town of Woodend.

In the film, the formidable actor Rachel Roberts plays Miss Appleyard, with Anne Louise Lambert in the leading role of the ethereal schoolgirl Miranda.

On February 14, 1900 the girls prepare for a picnic at nearby Hanging Rock with their mathematics mistress Greta McCraw, and French mistress Mlle. de Poitiers played by Helen Morse.

Miss Appleyard and the schoolgirls at Appleyard College aka Martindale Hall, in Mintaro, South Australia where scenes from Picnic at Hanging Rock was filmed. Source:News Limited

Anne-Louise Lambert at Martindale Hall in South Australia last year. Picture: Kelly BarnesSource:News Corp Australia

The formidable Miss Appleyard played by Rachel Roberts in Peter Weir’s film.Source:News Limited

As their buggy gets closer to the rock, the driver’s watch stops on the stroke of twelve.

At the rock Miranda and three other girls, Irma, Mario and Edith, decide to explore.

They are observed by picnicking English tourist Michael Fitzhubert to lie dazed on the ground before moving, in a trance, into a recess in the rock face.

One of the girls, Edith screams and flees down the rock and a depleted and hysterical group returns to Appleyard College.

Missing are Miss McCraw, Miranda, Marion and Irma.

A police search party fails to find them, a Miranda-obsessed Fitzhubert sets out but is found near-delirious and clutching a piece of lace from Miranda’s dress.

Only Irma is found, unconscious and missing her corset but alive. She cannot remember what happened.

The incident spooks Woodend and Appleyard College, two more die and the girls’ disappearance is never solved.

Weir’s film is set to haunting pan flute music and was a critical success before being nominated for a raft of awards, but winning only a BAFTA for Best Cinematography.

The film created renewed interest by visitors to Hanging Rock, which is now a popular tourist destination and retains its reputation for being a “haunted” site.

DVD cover of the 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock with Anne Louise Lambert as Miranda.Source:News Corp Australia

O Εσταυρωμένος στο Γολγοθά άνοιξε τα μάτια του. Δείτε τις φωτογραφίες


Χθες το απόγευμα οι πατέρες των Ιεροσολυμων πρόσεξαν σαν ένα φως στο Γολγοθά και άμεσος παρατήρησαν οτι τα μάτια του Χριστού ήταν ανοικτά όχι όπως πάντα κλειστά.

The origin of the yo-yo is still a source of debate,  but the first historical mention of it comes from Greece in the year 500 BC


After the doll, the yo-yo is considered to be the second oldest toy in history 

The origin of the yo-yo is still a source of debate, but the first historical mention of it comes from Greece in the year 500 BC. Some historians believe that the yo-yo likely originated in China because of a similar toy called a diabolo, which had almost the same design.

Throughout history, many countries have made the claim to be the inventor of the yo-yo, but there is no conclusive documented evidence. It has also been suggested that the toy was adapted from an early type of weapon, which may have originally been used to hunt animals.

Boy playing with a terracotta yo-yo, Attic kylix, c. 440 BC.

Diabolo toy.

There is a popular story about the yo-yo being a centuries-old weapon from the Philippines. Historical records indicate that 16th-century hunters in the Philippines hid up in trees with yo-yos, waiting for a victim to pass below. These yo-yos were really heavy and were made from rocks which were tied to a long cord. Today, the yo-yo is a very popular toy in the Philippines but there is no documented evidence that it was ever used as a weapon.

Mexican yo-yos. Photo Credit

The yo-yo as we know it today was invented in 1928 by Pedro Flores, who opened the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California. After one year, the potential of this toy was recognized by Donald F. Duncan, who bought the Flores Yo-Yo Corporation, including the Flores name.

As a trademark, the name yo-yo was first registered in 1932. In 1946, the Duncan Toys Company opened a yo-yo factory in Wisconsin and in 1999 Duncan’s yo-yo was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Lady with a yo-yo, Northern India (1770).

As a result of its popularity, there were a number of innovations in yo-yo technology in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Tom Kuhn patented the “No Jive 3-in-1” yo-yo, the world’s first “take-apart” yo-yo and the first to have a replaceable axle. Kuhn also produced the world’s largest yo-yo, which was a super-sized version of the No Jive yo-yo. This particular yo-yo made it into the 1981 Guinness Book of World Records. 

Lady playing with a yo-yo in Berlin in the 1960s. Photo Credit

There are many different shapes of yo-yo. The two best known traditional shapes are the modified shape and the butterfly shape. The modified shape is also known as a flywheel or modern shape and it is a very popular design for looping-style tricks.

The butterfly wooden shaped yo-yo was first released by Duncan and was invented by Wayne Lundberg. The modern yo-yos that people use today are in the V shape (the basic shape of the yo-yo), the W shape (which is also known as the ‘stepped V’), the O shape (or the ‘organic’ shape), and the H shape.

Butterfly shaped yo-yo. Photo Credit

A 1791 illustration of a woman playing with English Bandalore (yo-yo).

On April 12, 1985, the Duncan Yo-yo, along nine other toys, had the honor to become the first yo-yo in space. It was part of the experiment series “Toys in space” and astronaut David Griggs had the honor of becoming the first person to play with a yo-yo in space.

Στην Ελλάδα για πρώτη φορά το λείψανο της Αγίας Ελένης

Ο επίσκοπος Αγαθάγγελος στη Βενετία με το ιερό λείψανο της Αγίας Ελένης. Επειδή η παράδοση των Δυτικών είναι να εμφανίζουν τα ιερά λείψανα ενδεδυμένα, γι’ αυτόν τον λόγο η Αποστολική Διακονία προσέφερε ένα επιβλητικό πορφυρό βυζαντινό ένδυμα.Το αρχικό είναι βενετσιάνικο στα χρώματα της ώχρας.

Με αφορμή τη συμπλήρωση 80 χρόνων του έργου της Αποστολικής Διακονίας της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος, με την ευλογία και την έγκριση του Αρχιεπισκόπου Ιερώνυμου και της Ιεράς Συνόδου, το ιερό λείψανο θα μεταφερθεί στην Αθήνα την Κυριακή 14 Μαΐου, μαζί με τμήμα του Τιμίου Ξύλου με τα Αχραντα Πάθη του Χριστού. Το ιερό λείψανο και το τίμιο ξύλο θα εκτεθούν σε προσκύνημα στον ιερό ναό της Αγίας Βαρβάρας, στον ομώνυμο δήμο της Αττικής μέχρι τις 15 Ιουνίου.

Μητροπολιτικό κέντρο

Για τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Ιερώνυμο με την υποδοχή του λειψάνου αναδεικνύεται η πνευματική και πολιτιστική ταυτότητα της Ευρώπης, διότι Ευρώπη χωρίς τη χριστιανική παράδοση και πίστη που την οικοδόμησε, δεν δύναται να υπάρξει. Ουσιαστικά ο κ. Ιερώνυμος αναλαμβάνει έναν ρόλο ανάδειξης της πατρίδας μας σε μητροπολιτικό κέντρο της Ευρώπης.

Η υποδοχή θα γίνει μπροστά από το Δημαρχείο Αιγάλεω από τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αθηνών, παρόντος του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας Προκόπη Παυλόπουλου. Οπως την άνοιξη του 2015 με το ιερό λείψανο της Αγίας Βαρβάρας, έτσι και τώρα κάποιοι μιλούν για εμπορευματοποίηση των ιερών λειψάνων, άλλοι κάνουν λόγο για το κόστος του εγχειρήματος, ενώ ορισμένοι σημειώνουν ότι πρόκειται για λείψανο και όχι για σκήνωμα, όπως είχε αρχικά αναφερθεί.

Η ανταπόκριση της Ρωμαιοκαθολικής Εκκλησίας στο σχετικό αίτημα της Αποστολικής Διακονίας της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος, «δείχνει την πολύ καλή σχέση των δύο Εκκλησιών, σε επίπεδο πολιτιστικής συνεργασίας», αναφέρει στο «Εθνος» ο γενικός διευθυντής της Αποστολικής Διακονίας, επίσκοπος Φαναρίου Αγαθάγγελος.

Τέσσερα μεγάλα γεγονότα στα οποία πρωταγωνίστησαν ο Μέγας Κωνσταντίνος και η Αγία Ελένη σφράγισαν την Ιστορία της Ευρώπης και διαμόρφωσαν την Ιστορία του κόσμου γενικότερα. Πρόκειται για την απόφαση του Διατάγματος των Μεδιολάνων, το 313, που κηρύσσει την ανεξιθρησκία και παύει τους διωγμούς κατά των Χριστιανών, την απόφαση για μεταφορά της πρωτεύουσας της αυτοκρατορίας από την Παλαιά στη Νέα Ρώμη, την Κωνσταντινούπολη, για τη σύγκληση της Α΄ εν Νικαία Οικουμενικής Συνόδου το 325, η οποία καταδίκασε τον Αρειανισμό, και την εύρεση του Τιμίου Σταυρού στους Αγίους Τόπους. Γι’ αυτό άλλωστε η Εκκλησία τους ανακήρυξε «Αγίους και Ισαπόστολους».

Καμία σκιά

Ωστόσο, ο επίσκοπος Αγαθάγγελος δεν θέλει να υπάρχει καμία σκιά ή σύγχυση αναφορικά με το συγκεκριμένο κορυφαίο γεγονός μνήμης για τη Ρωμιοσύνη και την Ευρώπη.

«Δέχομαι τις αντιδράσεις, τις αμφισβητήσεις και τον προβληματισμό, αρκεί να υπάρχει καλή προαίρεση. Είναι ένα γεγονός που μπορούσε να γίνει μόνο στην Ελλάδα γιατί είναι αμιγώς Ορθόδοξη χώρα και αναδεικνύει τον ρόλο των Ορθόδοξων κοινοτήτων σήμερα στην Ευρώπη. Εχουμε χρέος να τους στηρίξουμε και να είμαστε συναντιλήπτορές τους. Βλέπετε ότι αυτό το γεγονός έχει πολλές συναρτήσεις που καρποφορούν στην ιστορία αυτού του κόσμου στο άμεσο παρόν και στο άμεσο μέλλον».

Ως προς το ζήτημα της λατρείας των λειψάνων ο επίσκοπος Φαναρίου είναι αποστομωτικός: «Αυτή είναι η πίστη και η παράδοσή μας και γι’ αυτό ομολογούμε και στο σύμβολο της πίστεως ότι προσδοκούμε Ανάσταση Νεκρών. Δεν πιέσαμε κανέναν να έρθει».

Οσον αφορά το θέμα που παρουσιάστηκε για το ποια μέρη του σώματος της Αγίας Ελένης περιέχει η λειψανοθήκη και ποιο θα είναι το κόστος της μεταφοράς, όπως σημειώνει ο ίδιος, «η Χάρις του Θεού δεν πηγαίνει με την ποσότητα. Κι αν χρησιμοποιήσουμε και τον λόγο των Πατέρων, αν θέλουμε να μπούμε σ’ αυτήν τη λογική, όσο πιο μικρό είναι το λείψανο τόσο μεγαλύτερη έχει τη Χάρη του Θεού. Το φαινόμενο του τεμαχισμού των λειψάνων είναι κάτι που το έχουμε ως παράδοση μέσα στον χώρο της εκκλησίας.

Επίσης, ποιος μίλησε για “υποδοχή με τιμές αρχηγού κράτους”; Για να είμαστε σοβαροί, η έκφραση αυτή χρησιμοποιείται από την πολιτική ηγεσία για ανθρώπινα πρόσωπα και όλο αυτό δεν εκφράζει το πνεύμα της Εκκλησίας».

Επίσης, ο επίσκοπος μάς εξηγεί ότι ενημέρωσαν -και όχι όπως έχουν γράψει κάποιοι ότι κάλεσαν- όλους τους Ευρωπαίους ηγέτες, όπως και όλους τους ευρωβουλευτές για τη μεταφορά του λειψάνου της Αγίας Ελένης στην Ελλάδα.

Πνευματικές αντιστάσεις

«Ο λαός μας μ’ αυτό τον τρόπο δείχνει ότι διαθέτει πνευματικές αντιστάσεις. Δείχνει στους Ευρωπαίους συμπολίτες του μια άλλη κληρονομιά, μια άλλη παράδοση την οποία θέλουμε να μοιραστούμε για να μπορέσουμε να αντέξουμε όλα αυτά που συμβαίνουν στη χώρα μας. Και για να χρησιμοποιήσω και τα λόγια του πρωθυπουργού όταν έγιναν τα εγκαίνια στο Ιδρυμα Σταύρος Νιάρχος “ο πολιτισμός είναι εθνικό κεφάλαιο”. Αυτό το εθνικό κεφάλαιο θέλουμε να το κάνουμε οικουμενική κληρονομιά.

Κανένας δεν επιβαρύνεται μέσα απ’ αυτό το εγχείρημα. Το αεροπλάνο για τη μετακομιδή προέρχεται από ιδιωτική πρωτοβουλία και συγκεκριμένα από τον κ. Μουζενίδη της Ellinair. Τα άλλα είναι κάποια βασικά έξοδα που αναλαμβάνει η Αποστολική Διακονία. Θεωρούμε ότι θα υπάρξει πολύ μεγάλη προσέλευση του κόσμου, όπως έγινε και με την Αγία Βαρβάρα κι αυτό δείχνει πολλά πράγματα. Δείχνει ότι ο κόσμος έχει ελπίδα», καταλήγει.

Η προστάτιδα των χριστιανών που βρήκε τον Τίμιο Σταυρό

Η Αγία Ελένη είναι η πρώτη χριστιανή Αυτοκράτειρα. Το ιερό λείψανο αποτέλεσε αντικείμενο αναγνωρίσεως το 1929. Είναι λείψανο που το πήραν μεν οι Σταυροφόροι, αλλά το πήραν από ‘μάς, από την Κωνσταντινούπολη.

Η μία λειψανοθήκη είναι ανθρωπόμορφη αργυρή κεφαλή με στέμμα, η οποία παρουσιάζει το πρόσωπο κεκοιμημένης γυναικός και εμπεριέχει εντός αυτής τμήμα της κάρας. Η δεύτερη μεταλλική λειψανοθήκη έχει σχήμα ανθρώπινου σωματότυπου που εμπεριέχει στο εσωτερικό λείψανα της Αγίας αριθμημένα και σφραγισμένα. Επειδή η παράδοση των Δυτικών είναι να εμφανίζουν τα ιερά λείψανα ενδεδυμένα, γι’ αυτόν τον λόγο η Αποστολική Διακονία προσέφερε προς τιμήν της ένα επιβλητικό πορφυρό βυζαντινό ένδυμα. Σημειώνεται ότι το αρχικό ένδυμα της Αγίας Ελένης είναι στα χρώματα της ώχρας και είναι βενετσιάνικο.

Στα Ιεροσόλυμα

Η Αγία Ελένη, που διακρίθηκε για το τεράστιο φιλανθρωπικό της έργο, συνδέεται με την εύρεση του Τιμίου Σταυρού στα Ιεροσόλυμα και ο ελληνικός λαός έχει συνδέσει πλήθος παραδόσεων μαζί της, στη Μικρά Ασία, την Κύπρο, τη Ρόδο, την Κάλυμνο, την Τήλο, στο Καστελόριζο, στη Νάξο, την Πάρο.

Ο μυρωδάτος και χιλιοτραγουδισμένος βασιλικός, το πολυαγαπημένο φυτό της πατρίδας μας, συνδέεται με τον Τίμιο Σταυρό και την Αγία. Η παράδοση αναφέρει ότι όταν η Αγία Ελένη είχε φτάσει στα Ιεροσόλυμα, δεν ήξερε πού να σκάψει για να βρει τον Σταυρό. 

Καθώς βάδιζε προβληματισμένη, μύρισε ένα υπέροχο άρωμα. Ψάχνοντας να δει από πού προέρχεται η εξαίσια ευωδία, εντόπισε ένα μέρος όπου ήταν γεμάτο από πράσινους θάμνους. Τότε κατάλαβε ότι έπρεπε να σκάψει σ’ αυτό το σημείο και εκεί βρήκε τον Σταυρό του Χριστού. Από τότε το ταπεινό αυτό φυτό ονομάστηκε «βασιλικός», επειδή φύτρωσε στο σημείο που σταυρώθηκε ο Βασιλεύς του κόσμου και επειδή οδήγησε τη βασίλισσα Αγία Ελένη να βρει το αιώνιο τρόπαιο των χριστιανών, τον Τίμιο Σταυρό. Η προστάτιδα των χριστιανών Αγία Ελένη κοιμήθηκε το 328 μ.Χ. σε ηλικία 80 ετών.

Πηγή: Εθνος

Archaeologists Might Have Found Another Dead Sea Scroll Cave

Archeologists found this piece of parchment rolled up in a jug in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)

In the late 1940s, teenagers explored a cave hidden in the flanks of jagged hills of Wadi Qumran in the Judean Desert. Inside, they discovered fragments of the original Dead Sea Scrolls—ancient collections of text that contain the oldest-known biblical manuscripts. Since then, archaeologists have found 11 Qumran caves that they have extensively excavated in search of the precious scrolls that date back more than 2,000 years ago. Now, a team of archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Liberty University in Virginia have discovered what they believe to be a 12th cave on the cliffs west of Qumran.

The Hebrew University press release writes that in the first wide-scale survey in the area since 1993, the team unearthed storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period (dating from 530 BC to 70 CE) in the cave that some scholars are already calling number 12. They also found a pair of iron pickaxe heads that they identified as being from the 1950s, suggesting the cave had been looted.

Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at Hebrew University who was part of the dig, says he is confident that the newly discovered cave once contained Dead Sea Scrolls. “Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we ‘only’ found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen,” he says in the release.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are first-person accounts of history, and the information they contain is priceless. As Andrew Lawler explained in Smithsonian Magazine: “The Dead Sea Scrolls—comprising more than 800 documents made of animal skin, papyrus and even forged copper—deepened our understanding of the Bible and shed light on the histories of Judaism and Christianity.”

In addition to Biblical text, the scrolls contain hymns, prayers, commentaries, and mystical formulas, Lawler writes. They’re so valuable that a fragment of an original scroll the size of a fingernail can cost up to $1,000,000, the Biblical Museum at Liberty University notes.

The new discovery has Israel Hasson, director-general of the Israel Antiquities Authority, calling for more funding to systematically search all caves in the Judean Desert for artifacts that have yet to be discovered. “We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain,” he says in the release.

The Tomb of Zechariah facing the old city of Jerusalem is considered to be a great symbol of the Holy City

The Tomb of Zechariah is an ancient monument located in the upper Kidron valley, at the foothills of Mount Olives, facing the old city of Jerusalem. Carved from a single stone, the monument was built in the 1st century CE at the end of the Second Temple Period.

Adjacent to the Tomb of Benei Hezir, the Tomb of Zechariah is considered to be a great symbol of the Holy City.

Tomb of Zechariah. Photo Credit

The Tomb of Zechariah is considered to be a great symbol of the Holy City. Photo Credit

The tomb does not contain a burial chamber and it has several elements with an Egyptian and Greek influence. The upper part of the monument has a pyramid that sits upon a cornice. On the western side, the façade is decorated nicely and on the other sides of the tomb, the work is rough and unfinished.

There are capitals in a Greek style which are decorated with the egg-and-dart decoration and are of the Ionic order. The place where Zechariah is buried is not known, however, there are suggestions that he was buried in the nearby cluster called the tombs of the Prophets.

Photography of the tomb from 1918. Photo Credit

The Tomb dates back to the 1st century CE. Photo Credit

The tomb has elements in Egyptian and Greek styles. Photo Credit

According to the writings of Menahem haHebroni from the 1215 CE, this is the tomb of Zechariah Ben Jehoiada, who according to the Book of Chronicles, had been stoned. He is regarded as one of the Prophets of the Tanakh in Judaism and was the son of the High Priest Jehoiada. At the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II, Zechariah condemned the people for their rebellion against God and so they turned against him.

By the orders of the King, they stoned him, and he died “in the court of the house of the Lord”. The tomb became a great symbol because of his righteousness and also because it is located in the foothills of the Mount Olives, where the Messiah supposedly took his first steps.

The Murder of Zechariah, painting by William Brassey Hole.

The tomb can be viewed together with the other monuments of the Kidron Valley. Photo Credit

Some scholars claim that it is impossible that the tomb belongs to Zechariah because he lived somewhere between the 7th and 9th century and the tomb is dated from the 1st century. They suggest that the tomb is actually a Jewish funerary monument for the Tomb of Benei Hezir.

Here is another story from us: Built in 520 AD as his own tomb, the Mausoleum of Theoderic is a monument exhibiting Roman art in its purest form

Today, the tomb can be viewed together with the other monuments of the Kidron Valley and those of the Mount of Olives.

Tomb of Amyntas, after the Greek inscription in Turkeya

The Tomb of Amyntas, also known as the Fethiye Tomb is an ancient tomb built in the city and district of Fethiye in Muğla Province, located in the Aegean region of Turkey.

Modern Fethiye is located on the site of the Ancient Greek city of Telmessos, with the Tomb of Amyntas located in the south side of the city in the mountainside, in the base of the mountain. The impressive looking tomb was built in 350 BC, and was named after the Greek inscription on the side of it which reads “Amyntou tou Ermagiou”, which translated to English means “Amyntas, son of Hermagios”.

The tomb was built by the Lycians, the people who lived in this area of Turkey at the time. The Lycians were never members of a specific country, but rather a tightly-knit confederation of fiercely independent city-states, which included Telmessos.

What makes this tomb unique is the fact that it is very large inside. While many other tombs carved into mountainsides are quite little, comparable to a small room, the interior of the Tomb of Amyntas is the size of a full-sized temple.

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