Iconostasis

talaia iconostasi roadside chapel Crete Greece
 

Light up the candle in memory

 

A weird feature of the Greek roads is the small shrines on the roadside. The iconostasis or small churches, as some call them, exist everywhere, no matter if the road is in the center of a big city or in a small village, on major highways or on the mountains on bad dirt roads. The iconostasis is an offering-expression of gratitude to the god from those who had an accident.

Most of them are metallic but they can be made of any kind of material, with stones or marble, built with bricks, plaster or plastic panels. Internally there are 1-2 images of saints, a bottle of olive oil and matches to light up the candle in memory. Most of them are rusted and ruined and no one knows anymore why they are there.

In the villages, the iconostasis are more neat, almost everyday someone will light up the candle. The more modern are decorated with golden letters, inscriptions, chandeliers with batteries charging from the sun, plastic flowers, indelible photographs and mantinades (short songs). The most tragic are the iconostasis devoted to young people. Decorated with puppets, favorite items and fresh flowers that are constantly refreshed. But who can judge the pain of human soul and the need to communicate with loved ones who perished.

For most people iconostasis are an indication of the road's dangers. There are spots with 2-3 chapels gathered on one side of the road, there it is better to slow down.

 

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