Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tales of Papa Gavriel Papagregorakis #1

Gavriel Papagregorakis
(Photograph in Azogires Monastery Museum. For access to the Museum, enquire at the Alpha Kafenion.)

The monastery at Azogires was a monastery before the Holy Fathers came; it’s shown in old icons but no one knows how old it is.

There is another cave there somewhere with the treasures of the monastery; that’s where the Holy Fathers first came. In the cave is said to be the soul of Gavriel Papagregorakis, the watchman of the monastery, the priest who is said to be still guarding the monastery and Azogires.

He has many stories told about him; he was a very powerful man but no one knows where his power came from.

He was a short stocky man with a big bushy beard and he lived from 1838 to 1929.

He was a priest who had been involved in one of the wars against the Turks and was shot in the wrong place and therefore he couldn’t have children.

He eventually became the head of the monastery, which at that time had both monks and nuns.

He had nothing; he was a workingman all his life, working day and night, living on olives and bread. In the end he bought one third of Azogires and when he died he left it all to what is called the Church Committee formed of 5 people.

The Goat

He had a flourmill here; a second mill below (the monastery?); another by the bridge; an olive oil factory and a kafenion. They all worked from the same small water source; he was the Leonardo De Vinci of Azogires.

He was also a merchant and he had another kafenion by Agios Georgos. He was once sitting in this kafenion looking at some pine trees he had planted that stretched from there up to the monastery when a goat came along and started eating his pine trees. He started shouting at the goat and he said “Damn you goat!’ and the goat started rolling down the hill.

The villagers went to eat the goat but Papa Gavriel said, “Don’t bother, it’s cursed.”

They sliced open the goat and smoke started coming out of it.

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