Road Trip – Highlights of Rhodes (part 4): Elafos Hotel

We went up and up and up into the mountains to Elafos Hotel before heading back to the south coast to our hotel.

There was a traditional tavern Elafaki (The young Deer) alongside the hotel’s main building and a church next door. You will notice the architecture is nothing like Greek buildings, it seemed very much out of place. The surrounding forest is home to a rare and unique kind of Dama Dama deer. Brought over to deal with the poisonous snakes that used to be on the island. If a Deer saw one, instead of running away they would stomp on it’s head.

On the drive back down the mountains to the coast, we passed this final little gem.

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Road Trip – Highlights of Rhodes (part 3): Lunch and Church Visit

We stopped in a lovely small village. Lunch was a three course meal! I’m glad we took a packed lunch as it was too hot to eat so much food. We wandered through the village and found the church we would be visiting later. We found a spot and had our picnic in the shade of the Church.

The Church was stunning and our guide gave us a really interesting history lesson about the architecture and why the churches are covered with so many frescoes – to get away from their pagan roots they had frescoes painted rather than having statues made. At the bottom of some of the frescoes you can see Greek names. These are the names of the families who paid for them to be painted.

Stunning!

We then walked through the village to a local shop that sold some of their local honey and drinks.

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Road Trip – Highlights of Rhodes (part 2): Filerimos Monastery and Cross

We can’t go to Rhodes and not go to a monastery or church. This trip took us to both!

Next stop up in the mountains in a small village for lunch and a visit to a church.

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Road Trip – Highlights of Rhodes (part 1): Kallithea Springs

This year we decided to push the boat out and go on two trips while we were on holiday. The first was a boat trip around the southern part of the island stopping in Lindos Bay and several others places where we had the chance to get out of the boat and swim in the sea.

The second trip was titled – Highlights of Rhodes

This trip stopped at several places around the northern part of the island.

We started at the Kallithea Springs. We had been there before on another trip a few years ago, but it was mid afternoon and way too hot to traipse around and enjoy it.

After the Springs we headed through Rhodes, passed what was left of the Acropolis – two and a half columns!

Then headed into the mountains.

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Flight to Rhodes

I consider myself fortunate that I enjoy flying, particularly as I’m often with a certain person who doesn’t. I have no fear of being that high, or fear the plane will fall – my fear is not being able to breathe, either under water or in a small space.

As we flew to Rhodes a couple of weeks ago, looking out of the window, this is what came to mind…

Clouds below and blue sky above

Beauty at the heart of creation

Where light always shines during the day

Turbulence hits…

Panic, stress and fear set in

From the depths of the earth

To the heights of heaven

There can be peace without and within

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Christian Art and the Bible – Mark 9: 2-13

The TransfigurationSix days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one[a] on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,[b] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.The Coming of ElijahAs they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. 11 Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 He said to them, “Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.”The story of the Transfiguration is one of those rare moments when we are permitted to encounter God’s intense fullness. Peter, James, and John were “very much afraid” when they saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Through out Jesus’ ministry we see many miracles and wonders, but, God chooses only rare moments to reveal his divine glory in the flesh, and then leaves witnesses for when the time is right the rest of us so we can believe.It’s a story that always makes me wonder why was it only those three disciples, why did they walk up a mountain? Because if other were nearby surely they would have asked when they went back down the mountain ‘what happened?’ Surely the light would have shown for miles. Then there is the fact this is the one time Jesus says don’t say anything – not yet! Other things needed to happen first but then they could tell anyone who would listen.The Transfiguration of Jesus, artwork by Andrew Gray

Mountain top experiences can be awe inspiring, physically and spiritually. Does the altitude have an effect on what we experience in those types of places? I love the emotional effect the painting above by Andrew Grey gives. By darkening the surroundings, using highlights on the disciples give the impression that the light was so intense that it made everything else seem dark.

A far more classical view is Raphael’s painting from 1520.

This is the last painting by the Italian Master painter. It was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Merdici, later Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) he worked on it for the Narbonne Cathedral as an altarpiece in France. Currently resides in Vatican City.

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Christian Art and the Bible – Mark 7: 24-30

Mark 7:24-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus exorcising the Canaanite Woman’s daughter from Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 15th century.

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry or Très Riches Heures, is a very famous and one of the best surviving examples of French Gothic illumination work. This can be seen in they style of buildings and landscape setting of this piece of work. It was created between 1412 and 1416. The manuscript was left unfinished, because the three painters and sponsor died in 1416 possibly victims of the plague.

Etching by Pietro del Po, The Canaanite (or Syrophoenician) woman asks Christ to cure, ca. 1650.

Pietro del Po was born in Palermo in 1616. He was an Italian painter, who studied in Naples. He was better known as an engraver than painter. He died in Naples in 1692.

This etching, for me brings out far more of the emotion in the story that you would expect to find than the above painting. Because it’s an etching, with the lack of colour it enable the imagination to build up the picture. There is also the nice touch in the addition of the dog – referencing Jesus’ comment in verse 27.

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