Sunday, September 18, 2011

Demre & Patara: Our Journey to Saint Nicholas!

After a relaxing day on the beach in Antalya, we were ready to hit the road and begin our Saint Nicholas pilgrimage.  We ventured out bright and early and drove on a twisty, turvy highway that tightly hugged the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the mountains on the other. 

After a couple of hours of curvy roads, we reached Demre.  Demre, once called Myra, is where Saint Nicholas was bishop in the 4th century AD!  How incredible to walk the streets where this legendary Saint lived!  Demre is now a tiny, humble Turkish village.  In the center of this ordinary Turkish town is the ruins of a large, beautiful church built in honor of Saint Nicholas in the 8th century (likely built over the ruins of the church that Saint Nicholas prayed in while he was bishop).  We arrived at the same time as several buses full of Russian pilgrims (Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia and is very revered there).  It was exciting to see this small Turkish town bustling with devout Christian pilgrims. 

In Demre, Turkey: Where Saint Nicholas was Bishop

As we walked through the Church of Saint Nicholas, I wished to travel back in time to when this church was new.  The magnificent archways and vivid, detailed frescos hinted that this church had to have been breathtaking when it was newly constructed. 

Saint Nicholas' tomb! 
His bones were here for over 500 years, and then were transferred to Italy.

Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of sailors. 
This cross with anchors represents his protection over sailors.

The Beaudoin's and Saint Nicholas! 
After Demre, we continued several hours down the long, curvy highway to Patara, the birthplace of Saint Nicholas.  In Patara, we hiked and climbed around the dusty ruins of the ancient city. 

Dan, our fearless navigator, checking his map in the ancient Amphitheater in Patara.
  Peter's a happy camper. 

After lots of exploring, we were ready for a refreshing swim in the Sea!  A gorgeous beach was right there waiting for us near the ruins! 

Peter fell asleep as we drove back to the hotel after our busy day.  He held an icon of Saint Nicholas in his arms as he slept.  Saint Nicholas is also the patron Saint of children.  Saint Nicholas, Pray for Us!

No comments:

Post a Comment