Man, community and the divine

Maria Vidali
Conference proceedings: Humane Habitat, Rizvi College (Mumbai, India, 2007)


Man, community and the divine

The island of Tinos:
Man's relationship with its community, the landscape and the divine


Tinos, is a Greek island in the north west of the archipelago known as the Cyclades situated in the Aegean Sea and is known especially for the religiosity of its local inhabitants and the festivals in honour of the Virgin Mary.
Tinos landscape is a composition by nature, cultivated and private land, villages and outbuildings such as threshing floors, pigeon-houses and windmills. In between the natural landscape and the village there is an area for human action which the same time it established a division in between the natural landscape and the human inhabited space, in between the communal and the private, the divine and the mundane.
A typical characteristic of this landscape which reflects the religiosity of the Tinians are the excessive numbers of chapels, mainly private, which dot the landscape and define the territory of the villages (over forty-five villages) posted on the mountains of the island both inland and overlooking the island’s extensive coastline.
On the two hundred square kilometers of the island there are approximately seven hundred and fifty outlying chapels.[1]Today the outlying chapels reflect both of the religious traditions, Christian Orthodox and Christian Catholic, which coexist on the island. Both religious traditions renew the community’s bonds during their festivals, while a local indigenous tradition is created in that way strongly linked with the history and the customs of each place. In the villages of the island the meaning and identity of a politically organized territory is strengthened and enhanced, based on this indigenous tradition of a religion which is related to the countryside and the cycles of an agricultural way of life. The outlying chapels’ location outside the village core and yet linked by the movement of the family and the other inhabitants of the village at the times of the festivals and rituals, reveals a relationship between the countryside and the village structure.
The outlying chapels belong either to the parish church of the village – in which case they are communal property – or, more frequently, to a village family – in which case they are private property. In the case of private chapels a special link is created between the family and the chapel. Moreover the annual festivals and rituals serve to link the chapel to the village parish church and the village households.
The chapels are built with the local materials such as stone and clay by local craftsmen following the form of the one aisled basilica with a flat roof, a typical form in the Cycladic architectural tradition, while inside, the two side walls incline inwards so as to reduce the width of the ceiling, thereby creating a bearing vault. Stone slates are used for the ceiling since it is narrow enough to support the weight.[2][3] The ceiling is made by stone and is covered by mad and clay. This weight bearing structure is a relic of a pre-historic tradition in the Cyclades and Crete, or even earlier during the Homeric period. [4][5]
A short historical flashback indicates that some of the outlying chapels that we have today, have existed from Venetian times, and some date back before that to the Byzantine era before the Venetians arrived in A.D. 1207. [6] Still others were built later on during the period when the island was under Turkish dominion as part of the Ottoman Empire(1715-1821) [7], since the inhabitants claimed by the new emperors the right to express their piety and tradition by building churches. Moreover the history of the island reflects the political events and times of turbulence undergone by the various territories, which make up present-day Greece, at the time of their occurrence. The various immigrants to the island found in it a “shelter” where religion remained a “stable ground” and where people were free to reveal their identity and cultural continuity.
Also Tinian piety towards the Divine established the island as a ‘holy land’ begins since antiquity. From the time when Poseidon was the beloved god of the island and the Dionysian festivals were establishing the cult of a national pilgrimage to the island, [8] the expression of piety towards the divine by the citizens was exceptional in its extent. The natural landscape and local topography created the ‘ground’ for the creation of many places of worship on the island. As G.Dorizas [9] says since pre-historic times, the land of the island is referred to as ‘holy land’, even before Christian elements of worship appeared. The goddess Mother, represented by the image of a snake, was worshiped on the island as a symbol of fertility - from whom was supposed to be derived the new birth of living things on the earth. Places of worship such as holy rocks, springs of water and caves, were elements of the natural landscape - religious symbols with meaning even during the Christian period.
There is a strong characteristic of traditional Greek religion that is revealed again, equally strong through Christianity, and ties together all the above facets that have been mentioned: ‘the act of piety – sebestai itself does not constitute meritorious piety, it only becomes such when it is subjected to the criterion of the good, this is eu-sebeia. The sole criterion available in the customs of the ancestors and of the city, nomos: ‘to change nothing of what our forefathers have left behind’ “this iseusebeia. Outward eusebeia guided by nomos is civic duty” as Burkert says, describing the Greek religion.[10] Nowadays of course even if the act of piety remains an important element of the religious expression of people its meaning and interpretation it is not the same.
Because popular piety is so important an aspect of the rituals and the religious tradition of the island, I will investigate the role of the outlying chapels in relation to the village structure and farmland, with particular emphasis on the way in which the basic structures of village life, through a popular piety and dutiful devotion to God have become expressed and thereby created an identity and continuity of tradition which thrives right up to the present day.
I am investigating this phenomenon of the existence of the numerous chapels on the landscape of the island and will try an interpretation of this based on a long historical tradition which is strongly linked with the existence of these chapels the same time I will define their relationship with the landscape, the community and the divine.     
The village
The villages became pivotal points in the island’s land and life. The compact agglomeration of houses, the surrounding gardens and fields, created a dense territory for human action and established an area, between what was common and what was private, what was sacred and what was profane, between what was natural and what was man-made.
The villages on the island of Tinos were based on a cellular structure formed by the houses in their centre and the gardens and fields. Radiating out from the main street of the village a number of smaller streets, alleyways and pathways lead either to small courtyards and storage areas within the core of the village, or to the area beyond the village, the gardens and pathways leading to the fields. In this way the inhabited world of the village is connected to the fields and land that surrounds it. It is the peasants’ activities that establish these pathways as they cultivate the land.
The periphery of the village may be defined by the point at which the stone structures of the houses give way to the fields. The cultivated fields function as an interface between the structure of the houses and wilderness. It is like a permeable membrane through which the radiating pathways penetrate. Property and privatise land, created a sense of identity and revealed a topography that embraces the familiar and the unfamiliar among the villages of the island. Ownership gave the peasant a sense of freedom and family identity within the village core.
The village of Smardakito is situated in the central part of the island, towards the west. Like most of the villages of Tinos, it has a nuclear form, which was developed within the elongated structure of the village. The linear structure of the village follows the main street, which proceeds from the main entrance. This street follows the contour of the hills corresponding to the different steps and inclinations along the route.
The church of the village acts as a centre but is not necessarily located at its physical centre. But it is always in a distinctive area. Being involved in the communal festivities of the church and the church liturgy created a situation where a distinction between what was communal and what private, became blurred. The two realms the private and the communal, tended to intermingle.
The church and the local festivities in the village
In the village of Smardakito[11] the parish church, which is dedicated to St Antony, is located in the middle of the main street of the village. This opens out onto a small square where the wash-houses and the fountain of the village are located. The local festival is celebrated on the thirteenth of June and is also attended by peasants from the surrounding villages as well as by the villagers of Smardakito itself.
Usually located in a distinctive area of the village, the church, a three aisled basilica[12] in most of the villages, is the largest building in any village. The church is the principal institution of the village since it becomes the place where the village community participates in something common, in a collective memory, which is affirmed through the expression of religious practices.
The religious festivities[13] deriving from the celebration of the patron saint stimulated the drive for a dialogue between the house and the church, and created a transition between what is individual and what is communal. The patron saint of the church is regarded as protector of the villageand is recognised by feasts, which build upon the identity of the community, at the same time building up the faith of the community. There is a big preparation before the celebration of the festive day of the patron saint of the church. The church must be re-painted white, and the houses of the village and all the alleyways, must be clean and white-washed. This represents the purification of the village space before the festival. “The space needed to be kept pure because only those who were pure could entertain divinity. For humans, communication with the gods required observance of routine rules for purity”.[14]
On the day of celebration everything is in order and in a state of pristine cleanliness. After the liturgy in the parish church, there is an informal traditional procession of the peasants and of all the participants in the festival, from the church to the houses of the families. The festival of the patron saint is an event reflected in every house of the village since it is for exchanging hospitality and for sharing between the neighbouring communities the meal that people offer to one another in their houses.  The hearth, the meal, the food, also have the property of opening the domestic circle to those who are not members of the family, of enrolling them in the family community”, as Vernant explains.[15] But also all this has a connotation reflecting L. Boyers’ thought about rediscovering the Christian primitive supper in the Mass. The meal at the family house after the festivity at the church was a closer re-interpretation of the primitive supper which is now established as part of a festivity, which links the house and the church not only topographically but mainly as a mediator of the revival of a historical event revealing a hierarchy and order of the divine world of the church to the mundane world of the house.
The church created an identity for the village community; it represented the political body of the village society and also the Christian ‘body’, while the celebration of the feasts of the local calendar lift people out of chronological time. “Time is literally what we make of it. It is constructed out of human perception, individual and communal.”[16] It reflects how the sacred establishes its time, but also how time, either festival or liturgical time, is a chance for man to be homologised to unity and eternity[17], to become part of a historical event out of the pragmatic time.
We can understand so far how from the edges of the village to its centre, from the centre of the village to the house of the family, there are a series of physical and symbolic reciprocities, which reveal a series of different transitional spaces from public to private, but also from human to divine all connected through the memory of a historical event which is paradigmatic, as well as through ritual and movement which are also pragmatic. The church and the festivals of the village become a manifestation of the communal life and collective memory, thereby creating an identity for the village territory and in addition a rapport between the human and the divine world.
Among these activities in the village core is included the journey of the family and the villagers to the outlying chapel, in procession, during the local Easter festivities which creates a ritual topography, an interaction between man with his house and his village area. The movement of the peasants in the landscape operates between two centres, one formed by the man-made world where his dominion is established, his house and one formed in nature through religion, typified by the outlying chapels and their festivals.
The outlying chapel, located on the outskirts of the village creates another spatial relationship between the centre of the village and its periphery. The outlying chapel even if it is private reflects the authority of the church, a link between the countryside and the communal village life, as well as a link between the human world and the World of the Divine.
The outlying chapel and the personal journey of the peasant
The chapel houses an image of a saint, while it connects the idea of God’s presence with human ownership, since most of these chapels are private. They are therefore a different form of communication between man and the Divine and also create deep relationships between the household and the village.
The outlying chapels are situated on remote areas outside the habitable village area defining another territory between the village, its fields and the wilderness. Even when isolated they always appear in a visible location,[18] on hilltops or areas with an open prospect, where they could have a view over their village or of a distant horizon, but also always easily approachable. The outlying chapel formed a space between the human world and the world of the Divine, while it defined a hierarchy between private and common wealth.
I will refer to some typical examples of villages and outlying chapels which are representative situations of many other chapels on the island. In particular at the village Agapi and the outlying chapel of Saint Sophia of Grizas, a flat-roofed post Byzantine basilica with exceptional frescos. [19]

Saint Sophia’s chapel and its iconography

Saint Sophia[20] is built next to an older temple (of which only the wall of its semicircular niche remains). Located at a higher level from the village site, over its south part and looking over the gorge, the chapel was built by the family of Marcos Philipoussis in 1691.
The chapel has no yard. The floor of the chapel, is a few steps up from the natural level while a small door, which causes the faithful to bend, connects the outside natural world with the dark interior of the chapel. The area of the sanctuary is not distant from the faithful but is defined by the niche, which forms part of the wall and the frescos that decorate it.
In the niche of the sanctuary, is depicted the image of the Virgin Mary and her Son circumscribed by a circle in front of her arms[21] . MHP ΘY , Mother of God is written into red circles on both sides of her image, and along that H EΛΠΙCΤΩΝΑΠΕΛΠΙCΜΕΝΩN- meaning, The hope of the hopeless - underneath, the date 1691 (written in mixed Arabic and Greek numbers).[22]
Close to the top right side there is a memorial to the owner of the chapel which says: “May God remember your servant (Marcos Philipoussis), son of Markos, and his wife (Margarita) and their children, at whose expense was built this Holy Temple of St Sofia”. This commemoration to the owner of the chapel and his family, being in a very prominent place in the chapel, underlines the strong connection of the family with the chapel. The offering of the artwork to God so as to commemorate the owner and the family reveals another side of the peasant’s religious mind, it shows the fear of and the piety towards death, the awaiting of the eschatological time and the time of his salvation.
Above the niche is depicted a shroud, with its ends tied in knots. This is the shroud covering Christ’s body after his death. The ‘Shroud’ is the symbolic representation of the Spirit of Christ. This is depicted and mediated through movement, during the liturgy. The priest sets upon the chalice a piece of cloth - a depiction of the Shroud-, so as the ‘wine and the bread’ become the blood and body of Christ through the mediation of his Spirit and the Incarnation. This is the first depiction of Christ’s Spirit in the church through a mediating movement of a cloth, but also as a fresco above the niche of the sanctuary.[23] The shroud depicts the Spirit of Christ but it also depicts the mediating movement during the liturgy whereby the mundane becomes divine.[24]
To the left of the sanctuary and by the east wall, the Crucifixion is depicted in fresco. Christ is dead on the cross, on his left, is standing St John the Theologian depicted with a bear, a symbol of bereavement, as G. Demetrokalles says . At the bottom of the fresco there are Jerusalem’s walls and above, the dark blue sky full of stars. Above the top of the cross, there is an image of the moon and the sun, reminders of the passing of time and the awaiting of the time of the Eschaton – eschatological time.
Folk thinking represents the moon and the sun as a couple, with the moon being the wife of the moving sun.[25] On the other hand the Tinian lament of the holy Mother gives another interpretation to the theme:
He looks at the sky, which is fading,
the stars moist with tears,
the bright moon drawn in blood.
The prophet Joel says (Joel 2:31, and as quoted by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2.20): “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” The depiction of the moon and the sun reveal a link and continuity between mythological or folk-symbols, and Christian symbols.
At the east edge of the north wall of the chapel, in a square, red framed fresco, there is the representation of St Sophia holding the cross, and St Gregorius dressed in cardinal’s clothing. St Gregorius holds a Latin crosier in his right hand, while with his left he holds a small child.[26] Opposite this fresco, at the east end of the south wall there is a fresco of St Mark. This depiction is related to the owner of the chapel who bears the same name as the saint. This establishes another connection between the chapel and the family. [27]
There is a hierarchy of mediations – communication - deriving from the symbols in the theme of the chapel’s iconography and the way they are represented, connecting them through the liturgy with the real world as well as with a holy world.
Between the terrestrial world of the peasant and the celestial and historical world depicted in the chapel there is order through the iconography of the chapel and the re-enactment of the sacred death and rebirth through the liturgy. This ascension, this journey of man in nature, reflects another journey of man, in faith. It reflects a passage based on death and rebirth in nature: life and and death of human beings and man’s aspiration for salvation and heavenly rebirth.

The personal journey of the peasant
In the village of Agapi, as in the other villages of the island, every Saturday evening the peasant man follows a religious duty. Leaving his house early in the evening, he ascends the hill. Walking on the pathway among the fields towards his private chapel, the chapel of St. Sophia, which is the place of his offering, he is expressing his piety and faith in a way that according to M. Siotos reflects his awaiting for a miracle but also signifies salvation and redemption[28].   
In the chapel the man lights the vigil lamp[29]: the incense and the candle. Using water and oil[30] he fills up the vessel where the traditional wicks float on the oil and he lights them by means of a candle.[31] The vigil candle was a tradition inherited by Christians from Judaism. The vigil candle for the Christians symbolized the Light of Christ, respect, worship and honour towards God and the Saints while in the small vessel of the vigil candle, the oil symbolizes the mercy of God towards humanity in the persons of the eight people saved from the waters of the deluge. [32]
The light in the chapels, in the wilderness of the landscape and the darkness of the night reveals the memory of the presence of God and the saints. The light of the candles in the darkness of a Saturday night, is a symbolic ‘light’, presaging the resurrection of Christ.
The wilderness of the landscape has a special meaning during this journey of the faithful. Eric Voegelin describing wilderness in post-biblical history, says, “wilderness was looked upon as a moral waste but also as a potential paradise, as a place of testing or even punishment, as the experience or occasion of nuptial bliss, but also as a place of refuge (protection) or contemplation (renewal)”.[33]
During this journey, the man leaves his village and his collective life while moving towards isolation and an ascetic way of expressing his need to come closer to the Divine. The route or movement from home to the chapel is a mediating distance, which brings man from a politically ordered world, into the divine world.
The route or movement from home to the chapel is a mediating distance, which brings man from a politically ordered world, into the divine world. The peasant’s movement between the fields and his home, but also between the chapel and the home reveals another link with the village territory and the village society. As Gadamer states, ”to unite one’s soul with the Divine, is to know how to mediate the ontological distance between the individual and the divine”[34].
Remote in the landscape, and representing piety and faith, the outlying chapels indicate their own topographical region, since apart from the community and the family to whom a particular chapel belongs it also belongs to the saint to whom it is dedicated.[35]
The saint establishes his place on the land, connecting his legend with the characteristics of the place. Saint John the Baptist[36] ‘dwells’ in springs and St. Michael,[37] in caves. The prophet Elijah[38] dwells on mountain- tops and St Peter[39]on the coast. They create a topos[40] embodying Christianity into their local topography and landscape, making the outlying chapel a meeting place between the human and the Holy, while it recalls customs of the ancient Greek world when each of the gods were supposed to inhabit his own particular temple and region[41].
A liturgy is enacted at least twice a year in the outlying chapels: on the feast day of the Saint[42] and just after Easter, during the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ, when the collective journey of the peasants start in the landscape.
The outlying chapel and the collective journey of the faithful in the landscape
The week after Easter is called Διακαινησιμου, (Diakenisimoυ), and is the time when all the outlying chapels start having their festivals; the liturgy and the communal meals celebrating the Resurrection of Christ and the saint to whom the chapel is dedicated. During these festivals, the village community to which the chapel belongs and the neighbouring communities participate in going up to the chapel and celebrating in the countryside.
Diakenisimou,[43] means the beginning of a new day in religion. It means the regenerated, the re-baptised. In the past, during this week the regeneration of the Neophyte Christians began Dressed in white, they had to visit the chapels every day, to laud, to glorify and to commune with Christ. For this reason, this week is also called the ‘White week’.[44]
In Kardiani village, three days after Easter, the villagers, joined by the neighbouring communities, celebrate the resurrection at the outlying chapel of St. Peter by the coast.[45] St Peters’ chapel was built in 1621 and was the property of a peasant of Kardiani who later donated the chapel to the parish church. Next to the church an open space sheltered from the rain and the wind has been built so that the community can participate in the meal of agape, after the liturgy. The villagers and participants in the present event find themselves participants in a historical event, enabling them to re-assess their relationship with God and their relationship with their community and with nature.
Before the festival, the place needs to be purified. The day of the festival, everything is cleaned and repainted in white lime while the holy table or altar is covered in white embroideries, and flowers decorate the chapel and the icons. The order in the chapel reflects the arrival of a renewal, but also reflects a separation from the surrounding wilderness and the past.
The reading of the Gospel is related to the location of the chapel; if the outlying chapel is located close to the sea then the Gospel will be related to the appearance of Christ on the seashore. Christ’s appeared after His Resurrection to St Peter while he was fishing.
During the liturgy, at the outlying chapel of St. Peter, the priest reads the gospel and blesses the food of the meal, – eggs, bread and wine. During ceremony commemorating the Resurrection, the priest reads either the gospel from Matthew Mark, Luke, or John or a passage from the Acts of the Apostles:[46]
The meal of agape[47] that follows is based on the communal sharing of food that the faithful brings with them. Jesus after his appearances asked the Apostles to dine together; After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias, (St John 21,1)… Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish, which ye have now caught (St John 21,10)…. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. (St. John 21:12)
The agape meal is the example that God gives to people to imitate. It arises from the Divine and fraternal charity. It is a re-enactment of the last Supper, the communal dining after the enactment of communal memory and knowledge. It becomes a reaffirmation of the community’s bonds and the continuity of the tradition. Christ revealed the true spiritual meaning of the Law: the law is to love.[48] J. Smith says that even since antiquity, ‘ritual banquets were commonly held within the confines of sanctuaries at the culmination of a festival in order to reaffirm a sense of community through equal distribution of food.’[49]
The festival procession to the outlying chapel is something of a ‘sacred drama’. Through this “drama the world explored contradiction and inevitable defeat for the sake of the self-knowledge”.[50] The participants in this procession witness a reality while they are enacting a historical event embodied in their village territory, as part of a solemn public ceremony.
The outlying chapels’ relation to the village territory, the household, but also their relation to the wilderness and land of the island from a hint between the island’s topography and the topography woven by peoples’ movement and activities.
Ritual, festivals and movement establish an interaction between nature and the village. Man re-enacting a historical past through his going up to the chapel, the ceremony and the communal dining, reaffirms his community’s bonds and solidarity, and his participation in the continuity of tradition.
Another function of the outlying chapel. The chapel as a tomb
The outlying chapel became the embodiment of the memory of the death and resurrection of Christ but at the same time it witnessed a human death and a human hope for salvation and redemption.
One of the primary functions of the outlying chapel was that of the tomb. The owner and its family had the right to be buried in the chapel. By the placement and embodiment of the tomb in the chapel, man expresses his need for individuality towards a communal event, while he sets a hierarchy and continuum between him and the Divine. At the beginning of the 19thcentury the Catholic church forbade the deceased to be buried either in their private chapels or in the churches, so it was then that this use of the chapel stopped. [51]
Most of the outlying chapels are owned privately, indicating the social status of the family, since what they reflect is not only the need for a private expression of piety but also a private way of commemorating a family member.
As symbols of this tradition, the outlying chapels indicate the embodiment of Christ’s death and resurrection but also they witness a human death and a human hope for salvation and redemption.
The outlying chapel created another place, a threshold between death and rebirth, revived not only as a memory of a drama in a historical time, the death and resurrection of Christ, but also as a memory and drama in the life of particular human beings, as part of the human continuum.
The outlying chapels dotted in such profusion on the island of Tinos, reveal the relation of its inhabitants with their village community, with the landscape and the Divine. The strong religious tradition that exists, sustains a way of thinking and living that may not be interpreted the same today since tradition is changing as part of culture’s natural course but still its understanding and continuity is necessary and valid.
The traditions that exist on the island today based on Orthodox and Catholic interpretations of Christianity are actually an amalgam of meanings and symbols of the ancient Greek world and the relics of the Greek religion, the structure that the Byzantines applied and the re-establishment of this structure by the Venetians. The vessel for this cultural amalgam becomes the island and the natural environment.
Every outlying chapel bearing its symbols and meanings becomes a reminder of the resurrection of Christ every Saturday evening when the peasant performs his weekly religious task and lights the vigil lamps of the outlying chapels, dissolving the darkness of the night.
During Diakenisimos week it becomes a symbol of the resurrection of its patron saint, while it represents a religious rebirth and indeed the regeneration of the entire community. The Easter festivals in the countryside are marked by a continuous movement of the people from their houses to the church of the village and then in procession to the chapel. Leaving their village area they participate in a procession, walking along the fields and ascending the hill while nature blooms around them preparing them for the reenactment of a Divine rebirth. Some of them will follow a different route, walking along the coastline and scrambling up on hillsides. The meal of agape that follows reestablishes the community and strengthens the Christian bonds. The peasants looking at their world from above establish their link with their village community and they return back to it.
The village is an organic structure, which becomes alive through the movement and activities of people. Alleys and pathways radiate and connect the houses of the village core with the gardens, the outer fields, and the chapels on the hilltops. The farming life and religious life of the peasants becomes a manifestation of order in the village territory creating a dialogue between the world of nature and the human space.
The church, a sacred territory detached from the surrounding “cosmic milieu”[52] is connected with the compact core that the village houses create, through the movement of people. After the liturgy the community moves from the church to the peasants' houses and participates again in a traditional, festive meal, bearing symbols and meanings of the sacred meal already enacted in the liturgy of the church.
The village structure remains the same and preserves its order revealing a reciprocity and interaction between nature and culture. Rituals and festivals preserve and continue customs and tradition. They reveal this transition in time and in the history of the island while they reaffirm its continuity and identity.
Today the outlying chapels either private or public are not tombs any more, even if remains of old tombs and symbols still remind us of their former use. Families, though, still commemorate their deceased by visiting their private chapel and lighting up the vigil lamp on Saturday nights and at Easter. [53]
People on the island today, by preserving the outlying chapels preserve their tradition, and in that way they are preserving their memories of the past. Symbols and meanings may not be interpreted the same any more; the connection with the past though, through mimesis and repetition today is important and valuable.
Eliade writes about religious man and his profound nostalgia “to inhabit a divine world”, expressing the desire to live in a pure and holy cosmos, as it was in the beginning, “when it came fresh from the Creator’s hands.”[54] If we trace back the turbulent history of the island we can realize the importance of these chapels as symbols of rebirth and salvation in the broader historical context of continuous changes on the island. The outlying chapels reflect a continuity of tradition in the modern world, while festivals and rituals revitalize this tradition. They also continue to embody our primary sense of continuity that was formed by the passage through life and death and the hope for rejuvenation.
Eliade says that there is a profound need for nostalgia through religion. The problem with nostalgia is that it refers not to continuity but rather to a break with the past. Eliade may call this nostalgia, but actually it is something deeper and more basic that has to do with continuity and tradition. The village topographies with their chapels act as concrete, enduring repositories of this continuity. This situation that exists on the island of Tinos can furnish culture with another valuable sample of the importance of knowing what tradition is, what to imitate and what to interpret, to learn from this and to continue.

1.  M. Foskolos, Tiniaka, Scientific periodical publication of the company of Tinian research. Introduction to the History of the Catholic churches of Tinos, Volume 1, (Athens 1996), p.43.
2. Demetrokalles Georgios. Traditional Church-structure in Tinos. Tinian Researches Association, (Athens 2004),.p.15. If the ceiling of the chapel’s structure is wide enough then timber beams support the stone slates.
3.  Ibid., p.26 Another reason for the existence of the flat roofs, that Demetrocalles writes about, is that of the climate, since there are just a little rain and few trees to provide timber for another structure.
4.  Demetrokalles Georgios. Traditional Church-structure in Tinos. Tinian Research Association, (Athens 2004).p.26, Homer reveals the existence of flat roof dwellings: Elpinor one of the Odysseus companions, was sleeping on the tegeos of Kirkis mansion from where he fell and was killed.
5.  Ibid., p.26 This view was actually supported by A. Orlandos was a scholar in Church architecture in Greece, works of his: File of the Byzantine Monuments in Greece;The post Byzantine Chapels of Paros, Materials and Structures of the Ancient Greeks and the Ways of their Application, (Athens 1959-1960).
6.  M. Foskolos, Tiniaka, p.49.
7. Ibid. p.49.
8. Georgios Dorizas, Ancient Tinos, part one, (Athens 1974), p.45-47.  
9. Georgios Dorizas, Ancient Tinos, part one, (Athens 1974), p.45-47.  
10. Burkert Walter, Greek Religion, Archaic and Classical, translated by Raffan John, (Blackwell, 1985, 2000), p.273-274.
11. In the village of Smardakito, the Catholic tradition is followed.
13.  The main celebrations which are referred to by Doriza are communal and also unify the villages. They are the: Birth, Cross, Ascension, Resurrection, Assumption and Transfiguration.
14.  Susan G. Cole, pp. 35-36.
15. Jean-Pierre Vernant, Myth and Thought among the Greeks, (London: 1983), p.129.
16.  Kagis I. McEwen, p.38.
17.  Louis Boyer. Rite and Man. The Sense of the Sacral and Christian Liturgy. (Burnes &
Oates, 1963).p.11.
18.  Demetrokalles Georgios. Traditional Church-structure in Tinos. (Tinian Research Association, Athens 2004), p.11.
19.  Demetrokalles Georgios. Traditional Church-structure in Tinos. Tinian Researches Association, (Athens 2004), p.115.
20.  The chapel dimensions: 2.45 by 6.80 meters long.
21.  Ibid., p.115 This is a very typical style of representation of the Holy Mother which is called Vlachernitissa, deriving from Constantinople.
22.  Demetrokalles Georgios. Traditional Church-structure in Tinos. Tinian Researches Association, (Athens 2004), p.115.
23. Giorgios Toufeklis, orthodox priest and theologian, oral interview 12/05/05.
24.  Ibid.,
25. This is followed by the Tinian lament of the holy Mother, (See, Florakis Alekos, Tinos, Folk Art, Greek Book, Athens, 1971, p.144).
26.  Ibid., p.119 Their names are written in Latin: St Sofia and S. Gregorius.
27.  According to G. Siotos many Tinians owe their name to the name of the Saint to whom the outlying chapel is dedicated, or , vice versa the owner of the chapel will give his name through the saint to the outlying chapel., ( See Siotis, Marcos,Cycladic Light, Newspaper of the Cyclades, The religiosity of the Tinians, The outlying chapels of the islands of Tinos, no. 157).