Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church


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Palmerage: Pilgrimage to Greece | Day 9

Posted by The Reverend Ryan Hawthorne on

Crete and (no) Santorini 

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the 5th largest of the Mediterranean islands, lying at the convergence of the Mediterranean, Crete, and Aegean Seas. The Dodecanese islands (Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, etc.) lie to the northeast, the Peloponnese to the northwest. 

Crete is known for three things: the best olive oil in Greece; the Minoan Palace at Knossos (and the legend of the Minotaur); the capital city of Iraklio (Heraklion), which has the best archeological museum in Greece second only to the one in Athens. 

The Minoan Palace at Knossos is a labyrinth, designed to keep the royal family safe from intruders. It was inhabited until the first rumblings of an earthquake when the people abandoned the settlement for safer ground. Before they could return to their land, the Mycenaeans, led by Agamemnon (of Iliad fame) overran their island home. 

Like many other islands in the sea between Greece and Türkiye, Crete was inhabited and occupied by many peoples—the Greeks, Persians, Romans/Byzantines, Ottomans, and finally were autonomous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries until 1923 when they unified with Greece for greater protection. 

Many families in Crete on and operate olive farms, pressing olives for oil and using the wood to make beautiful olive wood wares. I bought olive oil in Crete and Bishop Hector has agreed to bless it while we are still in pilgrimage, either today or tomorrow! 

The original plan for our day included a stop over in Santorini where the group had a pre booked excursion to the famous city of Oia (with the whitewashed walls and blue dome roofs). Unfortunately our crew was advised to stay at port in Crete because the weather was too bad in Santorini. Even in Crete the wind was ahowl, whipping around corners, blowing away anything not tied down. 

After our initial disappointment some of our group disembarked into Heraklion again and some of us stayed on board participating in various onboard activities. 

This is our last night aboard the cruise. Tomorrow we disembark at Piraeus and make our way to Corinth. Apparently the canal is a good place for bungee jumping and I’ve challenged Bishop Hector to bungee with me in our clericals. What do you all think? 

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