Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Monk Who Waves at Planes

Sorry for the light posting lately. I've been flat-out exhausted but very glad to be because of what it signifies. Nevertheless, tired is tired! Ribby's 14th birthday was Friday and we celebrated on Saturday so I have photos saved up from that to share, perhaps tomorrow. I've also been doing the seasonal clothes sort-through and swap and that is exhausting in and of itself. But anyway.

I found this this evening and LOVE it!

Whenever monk Joseph of Mount Athos hears the sound of an aircraft, he stands close to the edge of a cliff above the Aegean and waves a huge Greek – or sometimes Byzantine – flag at the Greek Air Force pilots flying over the peninsula of Athos in northern Greece. The pilots fly low in response to the monk’s special greeting, paying respect to the man who is known among the Greek Air force circles as the patron of pilots.

But how did this strange, yet fascinating greeting story begin? Some years ago, when monk Joseph traveled to the island of Skyros for a local fair, he also visited the airbase of the island. A pilot recognized him as the monk living on a Mount Athos top that happens to be a turning point for aircraft. After their acquaintance, the pilot used to fly low every time over that point so that he could greet the monk in this special way. Then the monk would wave back in response, until one day Joseph took a huge Greek flag and started waving it back at the pilot.

From that moment on, the story of the monk spread rapidly within the circles of the Greek Air Force and soon, one pilot after the other flying over the area, flew closer to the ground to meet the monk’s waving.

The story of the humble monk and the pilots circulated on the Internet and has become popular around the world. In every photo the monk stands at the edge of a steep cliff with a huge flag in his hands, while the pilots’ faces flying by are close enough to be recognized. Sometimes the peculiar greeting is met by ships of the Navy sailing close by the point where the hermit resides, while many pilgrims who happened to be at the scene have also joined monk Joseph in his greeting ceremony.

Read the rest here.

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