ST. PAUL’S HARVEST FESTIVAL AT THE KOKOTOS VINEYARD IN STAMATA
On a sunny Sunday, the 24th of October, the congregation and friends of St. Paul’s met at the beautiful vineyard of the Kokotos family located outside the village of Stamata north of Athens. Father Leonard, Father Bjorn and Deacon Christine led our worship in the marquee with views over the garden and the distant hills and Father Leonard’s sermon focused on the distortion of God’s creation by mankind and the gap between the everyday life of so many of us and His creation – we have become consumers who have lost touch with farmers, agricultural workers, shepherds and all those who work the land that provides us with our food. The task of ‘greening’ is a huge one but it is the aim of our Diocese, the Diocese in Europe, to become carbon neutral by 2030 and, if each one of us does just a couple of ‘small things’, this can be achieved. For our intercession prayers, Lynn Doolan gave us each a paper fish on which to write a short prayer. These were then ‘caught’ in a net and displayed for everyone to read – a lovely idea. The service was followed by a wine-tasting outside the tiny chapel of Αγ. Γιωργη τον Μεθυστη or St. George the Intoxicated, a Saint unknown to most of us but well-known in Greece as the Saint of the wine harvest.
A loose translation of a poem by George Emmanuel Augustinakis goes as follows:
“St. George breaks open the barrels of wine,
The young drink the most, the old a sip at a time.
Joy, wine and mezedes are welcome to all and
Red wine in particular welcomes the Fall.
A delicious lunch was served in the marquee by students of Campion School – willing and cheerful, as always. Our DJ provided a lively mix of old favourites and dancers took to the floor – the most energetic being the little ones. It was a joy to see everyone, and so many children, enjoying themselves at this wonderful celebration – one that we hope is the first of many as we continue to navigate our way through Covid regulations. This Harvest celebration would not have been possible without the dedication of Lynn Stavrou and her team of helpers and the hospitality of Anne Kokotou and her family and we offer our sincere thanks to them all.