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Name Day for Spyros

1983 montreal la ronde (8)

Today is the Name Day for Spyros.  Instead of celebrating birthdays, Greek Orthodox tradition celebrates the day of the saint one is named after.  In this case it is Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of potters.  Originally from Cyprus, he became the patron saint of Corfu where his body is taken on an annual procession.

SPYRIDON

Keeping with the tradition, Greeks celebrate name days by saying “Chronia Polla” which means “many years.”

Kephala view from Aptera

With each visit to Crete a journey to the hilltop village of Kephala, anscestral home of the Vutetakis family, was mandatory.  It is a medieval town, built 500 years ago during the  Venetian occupation.

kephal spyros climbing

Over the last thirty years we have witnessed a transformation from a rock strewn relic to a restored stucco coated showpiece on a promontory overlooking the azure Mediterranean sea.

Kephala spyros at church

One memorable visit was the first time we took grandson Spyros to the village.  He was nine years old and, with the name Spyros Vutetakis, my father and I wanted to show him the place his name was associated with.

Kephala church front

Near the town center (and just down the street from my great-grandfather’s old house) is a church built by  a Spyros Vutetakis 160 years ago.  Appropriately sized for the village, the church is not small.  The story, as I recall is this Spyros was well known for his resistance activity during the Turkish occupation.  He left in exile and made his fortune.  Years later, he returned to Kephala, but was still under suspicion by the Turks.  He wanted to build a church for the village and the local Turkish authority gave him permission, but only if he could do it in 24 hours.  To the authority’s astonishment,  he built the church overnight with the help of the entire village and it stands today as a testament of Cretan resolve.  For my father Spyros, son Spyros and myself, visiting this church was a wonderful event and the beginning of the next generation’s  close connection to the “rocks” of Kephala.

Today we honor all who have been named Spyros

“Chronia Polla”

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