|Monasteries and Mysteries|
This tour is like an introduction to the present and to the old Greek religion, Christianity and the Gods of Olympus. Within a day we are going to visit a major ancient religious centre “Eleusis” and two of the oldest and most famous monasteries “Daphni” and “Oss. Patapios”.
The tour starts with our visit to the monastery of Daphni (or Daphne or Dafni) which lies to the west of Athens, almost half-way along the Sacred Way to Eleusis. This site has been considered sacred since ancient times when there was a temple dedicated to Apollo there. The temple is long since gone (except for one column near the entrance), but the name Daphni (Greek for "laurel," Apollo's sacred plant) still honours Apollo's memory. The first monastery was erected on the site in the 6th century A.D. and was enclosed by strong defensive walls, almost square in plan.
After our visit to Daphni monastery we continue driving on the Sacred Way all the way to Eleusis.
The Eleusinian Mysteries probably included a celebration of Persephone's return, for it was also the rebirth of plants and the return of life to the earth. Persephone had gone into the underworld (underground, like seeds in the winter), then returned to the land of the living: her return to her mother is symbolic of the rebirth of all flora during Spring and, by extension, of all life on earth.
In 1904, the relic came to light when the cave was opened. The saint's body had been placed beneath tiles, to protect it from the dampness, and it exuded a sweet odour. On the relic was a scroll giving Patapios's name, with a wooden cross and some Byzantine coins. The cave of Ossios Patapios, measuring 8 χ 4.5 meters, is to the northwest of the catholicon of the nunnery, and it has a sanctuary and sacristy hewn out of the rock. The holy relic itself is in a special wooden structure at the back of the cave, on the left.
(Duration aprox. 8 hours)
All our private tours are flexible. It is always up to you to change the itinerary according to your wishes.
Admission fees and lunch are not included in the price of the tour.