Panayiopoula Church, Corfu
Panayiopoula Church, Corfu


Now comes the enjoyable month of June, including Pentecost and the Saturday of Souls, the fast of the Apostles, and celebrations for Saints. Sometime too, are elections for the ministers of Greece. A time to see the extraordinary behavior of those wishing to be elected. A common wish used to be “May the best man win”. However, times have changed, values, systems, reliability and honesty are no longer expected. However, if you are voting, may you have good results. Trying to find a Spiritual Father comes to mind now. Requiring a real search. Some of the eager students, having come closer and closer to our Lord, through sections of the Bible, from Church attendance, reciting the glorious words in the Canon to Christ, ask “Where do I go for Spiritual advice?” The million-dollar question. Naturally, Elders are available in every Metropole, some better known than others. It is a personal decision, a serious one too. One can suggest, promote, swear by, introduce, but finally it is your decision. On learning that a certain Bishop travelled to the other side of Greece regularly, he was asked why he didn’t find another Spiritual Father closer by? His answer: “Listen, after finding a fatherly heart, neither the costs, the sea travel, the weather can interfere with plans to visit that person. It is so rare to find a ‘graced’ Elder, and so valuable, that there can be no indecisiveness”. Many men return to Mt. Athos, in northern Greece, to talk with, to confess, with a respected Elder there. Some, having enormous regard for the Elder Efraim in Arizona went each year to America to seek his blessing. In truth, an Elder can be found locally, preferably he is older than you, has blessing from the Bishop to be a Spiritual guide, and indicates his interest and friendship. If on first meeting, on first hearing your dizzy problem, the Elder suggests you read certain texts, he seems to be uninterested and off-putting. No good. Go to the next Elder on your list. But beware. This search is vital. You must decide firmly upon the first meeting. For after, there is no changing Elders. Take care. Talking with friends about Elders and their methods is taboo. One Elder may punish, whilst the other stays silent. Never criticize your Elder. The Elder is a life-long essential part of your life, he can sum you up, can advise, support and model you to a healthy member of the faith. You give him your troubles and niggly thoughts, he gives you his ear, heart, and blessing. To commune, this Elder will tell you when you can, and will help you with the before and after of communing. If he is not in your immediate area, you may have telephone contact with him. An Abbot at a monastery often accepts phone calls. As much as you wish to continue with your faith in your own way, to master the various procedures, everyone, yes, everyone needs guidance, experience, a wise fatherly ear, a reprimand now and then, a friendship full of trust. Don’t be like the woman who confesses to her icon. That is a pathetic practice, like silly old wives tales. Find your Elder, tell your sins, ask those age old questions, admit your wrong doings. Find relief, freedom and create a sturdy, valuable friendship.

August 23 - Festival of The Odigitria

As at every monastery, so too at the Holy Metochi the celebration of the Saint to whom the monastery is dedicated is the most significant day in the year. 

In the case of the Metochi, our Patroness is the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, the Odigitria, who in this area is called the Panayiopoula. All year in our thoughts and prayers we call to  her to bestow her grace on us.

The 23rd of August is the Return Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, the 9th day, and worshippers venerate a small icon of the Dormition, showing the All-Holy settled on her deathbed surrounded by apostles, hierarchs and angels.

Leading up to the day the church is scrubbed, polished and decorated. The Altar is covered with a richly embroidered cloth only used for this festival, flowers fill every corner and rows of flags are strung up and down the street. The  beloved and grace-filled icon of the Panayiopoula is framed in priceless handmade lace.

Celebrating the Panagia Odigitria

The church which so many describe as having a 'soul' is very small, so chairs outside in the quiet street soon fill up with locals and some from further away.

Each Service is officiated by the Hegumen of the Holy Monastery Platytera.

'All generations shall call me blessed'  Luke 1, 48. That is why we call and pray for her help, our Ever-Virgin Mother. All Holy Theotokos intercede for us.

The church can be contacted by writing to PO Box 532, Corfu, 49100 Greece or by email at

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