Monday, May 15, 2017

Cruising the Greek Isles: Monemvassia

Monemvassia is a medieval fortified town remarkably preserved and built on a rock. The town is nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the East,” or as simply “the Rock.” The rock may have been the site of a Minoan trading post long ago, however, the town and fortress of Monemvassia were founded fairly recently when compared to other Greek  islands—583 A.D.

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne, and yet, in a sense, each of us is an island. We are separate from each other as islands are, and often times we live at great distances from one another. Seeing the “Rock” of Monemvassia reminded me of other such rocks protruding from the sea and the mountains of the earth, so isolated, so alone. Yet every such rock and every island is an extrusion of the same earth.  In other words, at bottom we are connected!

It is extremely foolish for us to think of ourselves as an island, separate and apart from all others, or to think of our nation as separate and apart from all other nations. We cannot long survive with such a mentality.  We are all part of the earth, we share common ancestors (from antiquity) and we must be connected to each other to enjoy the fulness of life.  

I noticed a van at the port of Athens, filled with fruits and vegetables, with a map of Crete painted on its side. I asked, “Is that van from Crete?”  “Of course,” was the reply, “the vans from Crete and the other islands come by ferry to Athens everyday, day and night, to deliver fresh produce.” This prompted the thought:  As the islands need one another, so the mainland also needs the islands in order to sustain life.  No person is an island…nor can any nation isolate itself from its people or other nations, because “at bottom” we are connected.

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