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August 26, 2011, 11:36 AM

Favourite church in the world

By Lawrence Skilling

St Illias, Vigla, Greece [photo LSkilling

Greece - For 12 years me and my family have been going on holiday to Chranoi, a small dead end Greek resort in the Peloponnese. I have watched my younger children grow up here, away from the distractions of school, homelife and my own boring routine that has meant me missing large parts of their childhood. There is nothing much to do here. There are three eatable restaurants, one drinkable bar and cafe and two swimmable beaches. No internet and no newspapers. After a few days in that ancient heat, with the cicadas scraping away and nothing to do but reach for another fat Kalamata olive and chilled red wine from a plastic bottle, one can slough off most cares. No wonder the Greek economy is stuffed; who would want to work in such a beautiful country?

One of our end of holiday rituals is to go and visit the tiny church of St Ilias, a few hundred metres above the Bay of Messinia. The last stretch is car hire hell, up a steep unpaved dirt track with lots of boulders for that 'Did-we-lose-the-exhaust-that-time-darling?' dialogue. But once you are there, it is worth it. St Illias was reputed to have heard God's voice in the breeze, and this is the sort of place where you could imagine that happening. The whole world is put into perspective for a while and even the prospect of picking a fish for dinner from the Socrates Restaurant chiller cabinet (at least 5 to choose from) seems unnecessarily complicated.

I look at the views. Breathe out a few times. Then go inside the church and pray to be a wiser, kinder person.

Antique Church Furnishings

Story Type:  Columnist

ID: 61338

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