Can this be our last day in Napflio? We feel that we could spend an entire vacation here and still find plenty to do. But, today we are committed to going to Old Corinthia and begin our search for understanding of Paul's ministry. We got away a little bit later than we'd anticipated (about 11:00 a.m.), but had all day to visit the ruins... Or so we thought!
After a delightful lunch of crusty Greek bread and an unnamed but delicious cheese we entered the ruins. It was only after we'd paid our 12 Euro admission that the lady informed us that the ruins would close at 3:00. It was 12:45 at the time. We scurried through the ruins, but even so we began to get a flavor of what Paul saw when he entered this ancient 'sin city.' There was still some paving on the streets, and an occasional nearly-intact building. 'Fascinating' is an impoverished word to describe the ancient stone-works, statues, columns and floor mosaics we saw. Most incredible was the Bema in all probability the very place Paul preached "The Way" to the Greeks. Realizing just how disgusted St. Paul was with the immorality which was rampant at the time, you can imagine his comments to the Christian converts of the place. We were disappointed in the lack of signage to help us interpret what we saw, but the book on Paul given us by Tracey and Stavros prompted us to look for the famous inscription concerning Erastus, the treasurer of ancient Corinthia. His position is mentioned in Paul's letter to the Corinthians as well as his name. Among the archaeological treasures found was the lintel of Erastus' home. Incredibly, it wasn't labeled at all among the ruins! How joyous I was when I found it, and was able to photograph this historic piece. Even more incredibly it wasn't even protected, but was open to people walking on it as well as the beating of the elements. If there was disappointment in the ruins it was exactly this: these priceless treasures were treated at best with disregard, and at worst with downright neglect. It is absolutely vital that generations to come have the opportunity to see the ruins. They are proof of Western Christianity. They are invaluable. Well, I'll get off of my soapbox now and return to our happenings today.
We left the ruins in time (we thought) to visit the AcroCorinth. It sits high on a mountain overlooking both modern Corinth and ancient Corinth. It was built fairly recently (the 15th century), but is very impressive. Unfortunately we arrived at 2:50 p.m. and the guard turned us away. Still, we had the good fortune of bumping into an Austrian couple we'd met in Napflion, and we had a good visit with them. There was also an overlook where we took some spectacular pictures.
Just as we were leaving town we saw a sign which said, "To the Church of St. Paul." We took a quick right and were rewarded with a delightful Orthodox church outside of which was an amazing mosaic in three sections (triptych) of the life of St. Paul. The small sanctuary was lovely, crowned with a chandelier all around which were the adventures of Paul in small glass panels. We lit a candle, each of us saying a silent prayer. It was a holy moment.
Then it was back the winding road to Napflio. After a brief respite to regain our energy we were off again for dinner. This final night in Napflio was crowned with delicious pasta and a delightful gelato desert from a small merchant. It was a great end to an incredible day.
Tomorrow we move from the ancient to the sublime as we join Stavros, Tracey, Katerina, Cassandra and Spiros in the home of Stav's parents Spiros and Faye in Athens. We anticipate a good night's sleep after our strenuous day today.