Katakolon St. Nicolas Church
Katakolon St. Nicolas Church
Agios Nikolaos, or St Nicolas in English, is the protector saint of Katakolon and his memory is celebrated on December 12 every year.
Katakolon is often ignored by many tourists before visiting it; they consider it just the gateway to Olympia, and other important sites in the region, but rarely do they look for additional information on the actual port and the village of Katakolon.
The truth is, though, that Katakolon is more than a drop off for tourists and cruise ships. It has beautiful corners, small details that are both cute and eye catching.
The little church of Agios Nikolas is painted in white and blue, the Greek colors, reminds us of the churches in the Cyclades islands, which dominate the scenery.
Simplicity is usually the main theme when it comes to the outside of Greek churches, while the scene changes dramatically when you enter inside – Orthodox churches are always beautiful, vibrant, but also a little dark and heavy.
It is sad to see holidaymakers walking into churches and monasteries wearing swimsuits or women covering shoulders wearing a bikini top.
Greeks are in general well-dressed, and you should just think what you would wear in a holy place at home. Religious or not, most people find it reasonable not to walk into any kind of church half-naked.
Concerned or curious holidaymakers ask about how the Greeks see them walking around in bikinis or just shorts and nothing else. Most people will have noticed on holiday in Greece that the Greeks themselves almost never walk around that way except on beaches. The young ones though do.
The answer is quite simple. Imagine people walking around in bikinis or shorts with bare upper parts of the body in your own hometown or city. It would look a bit strange, wouldn’t it. Its got nothing to do with weather. The Greek believe beachwear belong on the beach and nowhere else. They live and work on the holiday-resorts, surrounded by classmates, colleagues, family and friends.
Now, as far as the tourists are concerned, they understand our longing for the sun and how we want to relax when on holiday, but they sometimes think we are a little bit vulgar. But we are excused, we’re foreigners!
When you walk into a Greek Orthodox church, you should light a candle. You get it by the entrance and there is usually a slot where you can pay for it. Basically you can give any amount.
The next thing the Greeks do is to kiss the icon of the patron saint. It is usually situated in front of you as you walk inside, or near the iconostasis (wall of icons).
During sermons, the people stand up, but there are chairs for elderly or physically challenged. What is quite characteristic is that people walk in and out of the church during sermon, and they do not whisper.
As a non orthodox person you are not expected to do all of the above but there is a BIG DON’T you must observe: no one goes or looks behind the iconostasis. That’s only for the clergy, and behind it is the holiest part of the church, where the altar is.