It is amazing how some events appear in our lives and guide us to act in certain ways as if we are led by an invisible hand or an eye watching us from above all the time. This is how that chapel was built. Sometimes people ask: “what made you decide to build a church?” I would say, “it built itself”. Thinking back at the time, in 1968 – 1970, when we moved to the farm, I was not a very religious person, but somehow the idea of building a chapel, an “exoklisi” is actually a better name, got into me. The invisible hand pulled the strings in my mind. It all started when friends asked me if I would go back to Cape Town, I said that the farm is the perfect place for me and I will end my days there. Somebody, I wish I could remember who, said: “but they will have to bring you to the church (na se psaloun)”.
That was when a mightier power made me say: “No problem, I will build a church so that they can do it here”. But the seed was planted and it was not long after that that a local builder came to me looking for work. I said that I wanted to build a church but I had no money at that time. Soon God saw to it that bit by bit all the materials needed were collected and put together and the building commenced. A remarkable ‘fortune’ was the way I found the front door. The Lord told me to drive past the Majestic hotel that was demolished at the time, and as I drove past some workers were taking out a door complete with frame, glass and all. I thought that it would be perfect for the chapel. I stopped the bakkie, went inside, found the foreman and a few minutes later I arrived at the farm with a beautiful door for the church.
In early 1970 it was “finished”. I put finished in inverted comas, because there were far too many details for improvement, and there still are, but having in mind the hundreds of exoclisia all over Greece that I have visited, it didn’t need to be too elaborate to be a place of prayer, meditation and communication with the Lord God. Indeed when one walks in there at any time of day or night, one will feel the presence of a higher power filling you with peace.
At one time the Holy Spirit even made its presence not only felt but actually heard. It was on the 31st of May at 19:00 after the liturgy that was attended by quite a number of people following an agrupnia (all night prayer) organised by archimandritis and everybody was having a great time, games were going on for old and young, fires were on for the braais, as we were preparing for picnic lunch. We were walking in the garden towards the church when I heard some singing coming from a distance. It sounded as if a chorus of children were inside the church, I opened the door but nobody was there and the singing stopped. Understandably all activities stopped too. Everybody was shaken, the priest most of all. He got up, asked us all into the church and gave a short prayer, a blessing or thanksgiving to Panagia, and suggested that we honour that day. Remember those days the 31st of May was a public holiday, Republic Day, so for a number of years we had service at the chapel twice a year, one on the 21st of November, or the closest Saturday to it and another on the 31 St of May. Unfortunately, now that day is a working day and it is difficult for people to get out of Town for the day. Now there is a service only at the day of the “Esodia” the entry of Panagia into the Church on the 21st of November.
By Taki Hatjigiannakis