Tuesday, 15 July 2008

THE VOULISMA - A LOCAL MYSTERY


Many years ago there was a robbery in a merchants store in Azogires and clothing was taken along with other household items. The shop owner asked the villagers if they knew who did it. Luckily for the thieves, no one knew because the Azogirians in those days used to deliver their own brand of justice to criminals such as thieves, and sometimes their justice was rather painful.
So the store owner decided to play the last Card in his deck. He went to the Metropolitan, the most senior priest, and told him that if the items were not returned he, the merchant, would be bankrupted.
The Metropolitan replied that he would help and that the merchant should go home and seven priests would come on the following Sunday to make an Aforesmo ( An Aforesmos is a piece of paper, writen by the Metropolitan himself, and given to seven priests. They would then come to the church and ring the church bells for a long while to warn the thief to give himself up. If he didn't, they would read the paper and whatever the Metropolitan had writen on it would happen to the thief. Most of the time what is writen on is not so nice; death curses and more, things we cannot even imagine today.)
Eventually the seven priests came entered the Church of the 99 Holy Fathers. It was a peacefull afternoon my Grandfather Eftihis Koukoutsakis, who was witness to the events, said, and the whole village gathered there to see what would happen.
In the late afternoon, before they were about to start reading the Aforesmos, the clothing and the other items were spoted hanging on some trees across the mountain from the church.
Immediately the priests stopped. But it wasn't so simple; once this paper is writen there are two choices, either read it or destroy it. However, where do you destroy such an item? Clearly you cannot do it just anywhere because it contains dangerous magic.
So the the priests set out to find a remote position and eventually they did. Between Azogires and Anidri they found deserted spot and here they stopped, placed the paper on the ground, said their prayers so that the magic would not follow them and burned it.
But as the Aforesmos was burning, the ground around it sunk, creating a huge hole, known as a Voulisma meaning "ground that sinks."
Even today you can view this position: if you take the Azogires to Anidri path, as you walk along you will see the sunken land below the path.
Next time you are tempted to steal something, think again, as my Grandfather used to say; and he was trully a wise man

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