A Cretan Churchyard ( for a change)
I have had a brilliant few days walking and snorkeling in Crete. On the way I have had a close encounter with the relic of the True Cross at Praveli Monastery.
For a clergyman it is greatly educational to be walking in a dry land where there is no water and understand something of the landscape and harsh farming conditions of the Holy Land.
I also had a close encounter with a relic of St. Paul's companion Titus at the church bearing his name in Heraklion. Originally the relic of St. Titus had been kept in the 5th century basilica church at Gortys. That church didn't survive the in 670 AD. In 1669 and the fleeing Venetians took the relic with them back home to Venice. In 1966 the relic was returned to Crete.
Some of the best moments of the holiday were seeing:-
- 15 griffon vultures at one time in two adjacent thermals ( consider the birds);
- the fabulous Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum. (consider the flowers);
- beautiful fish (I'm sure Jesus meant to say" Consider the fishes!)
I was pleased to visit the site of St. Titus Church in Gortys and to find restoration work underway on the apse - the only part of the church still standing.
Could it be that the ancient olive tree besides the ruins of the church was as old as the church? Perhaps it had been here when Titus first preached the Gospel to the Cretans.