Efstratios Magoulias, or Yianni as his friends call him, is a native of the Annunciation parish in Modesto, California. Having completed his bachelors in Classics (with an emphasis in ancient Greek culture) at UC Santa Barbara, he is currently a 4th year Master of Divinity seminarian candidate at Hellenic College Holy Cross, Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Yianni loves sharing what makes him smile, in the hope it too makes others smile. Throughout the St. Helen's Pilgrimage, Yianni will be writing and reflecting on his experiences with various churches, monasteries, and adventures with his fellow schoolmates. Yianni hopes all of the iPilgrims at home following along will also have the opportunity to one day visit the Holy Land, Constantinople, and Greece in order to strengthen and experience their faith in Jesus Christ, first hand.
The OCN is pleased to share with you written excerpts and photos from the 2017 St. Helen’s Pilgrimage of the Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The students started their pilgrimage on May 21st and will return to Boston on June 26th. This is a wonderful opportunity for the students and we look forward to learning about their experiences.
Today we drove up into the mountains to visit the famous monastery of Panagias Kykkou. The monastery is home to an icon made of mastic and beeswax by Saint Luke, 7 years after Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. The walls of the church, the the entire interior of the monastery, were covered with icons depicting the life of Christ, the creation of the world through Noah’s Ark, and most uniquely, miracles of this icon. One miracle of Panagia Kykkou is whenever the island is in a drought, the monks process the icon up the mountain, to an area called, the Throne of the Panagia, and pray for rain. Local tradition says that the Panagia came to the island after Christ’s Ascension by an invitation from St. Lazarus, who after he was raised from the dead by Christ, became the bishop of Cyprus. The walkway leading from the monastery to the top of the mountain that the monks take during the procession of the icon has recently been renovated. It features mosaics of saints, prophets, and finishing with the Apostles and Christ, all the way up to where a church is being built, called ο Θρόνος της Παναγίας (The Throne of the Panagia)
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