We arrived Back at the monastery at 7.00pm just as the formal speeches were being delivered by the Mayor, Mr Nikos Plomaritis, and Father Angelos to a host of guests and dignitaries who had gathered to celebrate the raising of the Greek flag on Skiathos –
and the church service was due to begin.
It lasted for about an hour and the forecourt continued to fill up with townsfolk and tourists (who’d somehow managed to decipher the ‘Greek-only’ posters dotted around the town).
The art on display, provided by the 7 UNESCO artists, was well received and Yanna Xera’s incedible painting, on display inside the monastery, caused quite a sensation.
Gifts, provided by the monastery; a commemorative framed photo of the painting were handed to the crowds at the end of the sevice. I’m almost embarrassed to post my humble offerings next to hers – but well, here they are:
And last of all, the (finally finished!) ‘Oxi Day’, which caused quite a stir with the young bandsmen who delighted in identifying themselves on canvas.
Then followed a night of fabulous spectacle with live music courtesy of the youngsters of Skiathos band, led by Mr Alvianitis
and a trio of local musicians:
who provided the music for the traditional folk dances, provided courtesy of the Women’s group of Skiathos:
Their exquisite costumes rustled and glimmered under the illuminated backdrop of the majestic monastery – it was truly a sight to behold. I did manage to capture the beautiful young girls in a quiet moment and they gracefully, automatically ( and effortlessly!) slipped into this pose for my camera:
It was clear after chatting to one of the young beauties, who goes by the charming name of ‘Delesti’ (loosely translated to mean ‘honour’)
that the traditional Skiathos island dress continues to be worn with immense pride.
Then and a veritable feast and copious amounts of wine (from the monastery’s own vineyard) was generously provided for all who attended:
Mr Elias Demirtzoglou, Mr Stefanos Vogasianos-Roy and Mr Panagiotis Papazaxariadis, who issued medals to the clergy, the Mayor and their representative on Skiathos, artist Maria Kalatzi, who had organised the exhibition.
Certificates of participation were also handed to each of the artists who took part and a wonderful poem, especially written for the occasion, was beautifully read by the award-winning poet Mrs Stella Leondiadou
Finally, words from Mayor Plomaritis and Father Angelos brought the evening to a close – although the dancing and merriment continued.
The following day I was honoured to accept an invitation, along with my fellow artists to join the ‘who’s who’ of Skiathos, at a spectacular lunch, kindly hosted by Mayor Plomaritis, at The Hotel Hesperides:
in which toasts were made and thanks were offered. Later that evening, an informal drinks reception was offered to the artists, by the Delegation. A perfect ending to a very eventful few days!