Confusion in Kefalonia


Whilst on holiday for the first time on the Greek island of Kefalonia, my friend and I decided to take day trip that had been recommended to us, to the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos.

We weren’t really sure what to expect so we boarded the coach with a group of other tourists and made the journey to the Monastery. It was a scorching hot day so we opted to wear shorts, flip flops and T-shirts.

When we arrived at the beautiful Greek Orthodox Monastery we were surprised at just how busy it was; lots of tourists as expected but also a lot of local Greek people. We were directed by the tour guide (who didn’t speak much English) to a basket of clothing by the door which he was gesturing to some of us to put on. I said to my friend “I guess it’s because we have our legs showing and they want us to cover up as a sign of respect.”

We waited patiently at the back of the queue (in true British style!) and by the time we got to the basket I grabbed a long brown skirt and threw it over my shorts and my friend was left with the last item, a bright pea green velvet dress, he wasn’t impressed! But not wanting to offend anyone we entered the church.

Again we found ourselves in another queue it was long and we couldn’t see what we were actually queuing up for, but we stuck it out as it was obviously something everyone wanted to see. When we got to the front we noticed that it was mainly the locals that were queuing up, then in front of us we spotted a glass coffin with the mummified remains of St Gerasimos, the end of the coffin had been opened and people were lining up to kiss his mummified feet!

We both started to squirm at the thought of it, but were too close to back out so held our breath and pecked the feet of the corpse. As we left the church I started to look around and I couldn’t see many other men with their legs covered up, “I’m not sure you needed to put on that dress!” I said to my friend “I think it might just be the women!” he threw off the dress in disgust; I however laughed all the way back to the hotel.

Ruth Doyle

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