Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Holy Father's Burial

Shrine of the Holy Father's in the Holy Father's Cave

The Holy Father's burial

The Holy fathers went to the village of Sambronas and cured the sick people there. In return the villagers promised that they would bury the Fathers when they died. But when that happened, the villagers didn’t come and from that time until recently, the village of Sambronas didn’t have its own graveyard. The ground wouldn’t accept them and they had to be buried outside of their village because they hadn’t buried the 98 Holy Fathers.

The death of Saint John and the cave of the Holy Fathers.

When St John the Hermit left Azogires he went to Gouvernetou on the north of the island stopping at different places on the way and many churches were built in his honour. He was now an old man preaching that god doesn’t need money, just love and respect and if you want to do something good for God you should do something good for mankind – not a lot of people liked what he preached.

According to legend he was wearing a sheepskin jacket one night when he crawled into a garden to get some vegetables to eat. A hunter saw him and thought he was a sheep in his garden and shot him with his bow and arrow. He followed the trail of blood into a cave, where they celebrate St John on October 8 each year, when he saw a large bright light in the cave. He realised what he had done and he went in and asked for the holy man’s forgiveness.

The holy man said,“ I forgive you but you must go to Azogires and find my holy brothers; tell them I am dying and it’s their time to die also. But go now because when the light goes out you might hurt yourself leaving this cave.”

The hunter got out and went to Azogires on his horse; it took him a day and a half. But, according to tradition, by the time he got to Azogires, the Holy Fathers were all dead. They are supposed to be still in their cave, sat in a circle with their sticks and their possessions.

The cave itself is about a 45 minute walk from the Alpha Kafenion, up in the hills towards Spaniakos (ask Lucky for directions). The rear part of the cave was closed in the 1920’s by the priest and by an earthquake but, if you are careful, you can still climb down the iron ladder into the front portion. The cave is supposed to come out in Kadros, on the other side of the mountain from its entrance, 1 1/2 kilometres underground; the water in the cave is said to be able to cure illness and it's believed by some that there are 99 pigeons living there.

A properly surveyed map of the cave is hanging on the wall in the Alpha Kafenion.

(According to one person, the Holy Fathers brought with them from Egypt either the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant and that’s where they got their powers. Nobody knows what it is, but it’s supposed to be something powerful from the Jewish nation and it’s supposed to account for many of the strange and bizarre things that have happened in the village.)

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