Proskinites – to go with a prayerAndreas Koshiaris
This year Church of Cyprus first time participated in 37 National Exhibition. Church introduced exposition devoted to the pilgrimage.
It is well known that pilgrimage is a journey to the holy places. Its purpose is worshipping. The difference between pilgrimage and tourism lies in the spiritual dimension. For every pilgrim the most important is to pray at the miraculous icons, to meet wise spiritual teachers, to venerate relics of beloved saints. For tourists probably more important is to receive information about architect value of monument, iconographic style of wall-painting, historic data etc.
Church of Cyprus developed pilgrimage for years mainly through parishes. Recently Holy Synod established Office of pilgrimage led by His Excellency Bishop of Mesaoria Grigorious. Trough his work as well as assistance of volunteers exposition of Church of Cyprus was very informative and impressive.
Every visitor was met cordially, could try famous vine commandoria, Cypriot traditional sweets. There was a very interesting book exhibition. You could meet well-known Orthodox researchers such as Mr. Andreas Foulias. Icon painter father Dometious demonstrated his talented work, Constantine Christou created mosaic design, and wood-crafter Tasos Charalambus discovered secrets of his masterpieces.
Though Bishop Grigorious was very busy he was so kind to answer our questions.
-How can you explain such big interest to the exposition of Church of Cyprus?
-Orthodox Cypriots always kept tradition to visit holy places. Now this tradition actively continues. The reason could be economic crises. People can’t go for abroad and stay at home. And they realized: there are so many interesting and spiritually important places in Cyprus. And Cypriots rediscovered their country. Traditionally we cordially meet people from other countries as well.
-Old Russian tradition – pilgrimage to Cyprus – nowadays recovers.
Does Office of pilgrimage help them?
We are very happy that Russian brothers come to holy land of Saints. And we are ready to help them by all means. At the moment we work out helpful informative resources. We plan to participate in Religious exhibitions in Russia and to organize conference in Cyprus. Then we plan to help Russian pilgrims practically. Of course visit to Cyprus Patriarch Cyril will be important impulse in our work.
The article was published in Russian newspaper Europa-Cyprus.