Tag Archives: Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary Slept Here? by Mickey Hoffman

Cappadocia lies in the south central region of the country and is famous partly for its landscape and partly due to the fact that for thousands of years, humans have made use of the natural caves as storage, housing. military fortresses and for escape routes. The early Christians went there to live, at times to escape from groups who were persecuting them. They, like others before them, used the natural caves as dwellings and churches. Indeed, many tales are told to tourists about how Jesus’s mother, Mary, visited the area, so much so I began to flash on the “George Washington slept here” stories you get when you tour the states that made up the original 13 of the USA.

Whether you are interested in history, Biblical history or you’re just a fan of geology and scenery, Cappadocia will amaze and delight you.

Cappadocia2See? Here are some of the cave houses near Goreme.

Goreme outside viewThese are of a place called the Fortress of Uchisar.

Below is one of the churches. The builders carved domes and built columns using the natural stone. Most of the Goreme churches date from the 11th to 13th century. These murals are dedicated to St. Gregory who died around 390. Some of the churches are very small and I was lucky to be able to stand inside a few of them without a big crowd. Normally, they let in at least one big tour bus of people at a time, but I’d arranged a guide with an Italian couple and he somehow got us in between the big groups, if only for very few minutes. Standing almost alone, in silence. in such an old and beautiful place made my skin tingle.

St. Gregory'sI found the most interesting frescoes to be those created during the period where images of the human body were forbidden. Artists developed special symbols, almost like a code, to represent Biblical figures and stories. Sorry, I wasn’t able to photograph those.

These formations are particularly weird.

Cappadocia1I arrived and left via public transportation. One of the roadside rest areas had these signs. I never found out what all of the symbols refer to. Anyone have any ideas?

Road signs

Thanks for coming on the tour. Please leave a comment, especially if you can decipher the road signs!

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Mickey Hoffman is the author of two mystery novels, School of Lies and Deadly Traffic, published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. For information check the Second Wind website: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=25. Mickey is also a contributing writer to the online serial novel, Rubicon Ranch: Secrets.

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CANDLEMAS

 Or Imbolc or St. Brigid’s Day or The Feast of the Purification of The Virgin or, today in 2011, Chinese New Year, it’s the day where, the groundhog sees (or doesn’t see) his shadow, predicting an early spring or the dreaded six more weeks of winter. This year his prognostication is especially dreaded, as we’ve had more than our share of snow and cold weather. As we’ve got a humdinger of a storm predicted, on this, the day before, I think we’ll get the good news of “no shadow” this year.

 At the mid point between the shortest day and the spring equinox, this is one of the ancient “cross-quarter” days. In the middle ages, people hired workers and made contracts and paid debts on these seasonal markers. Sometimes there were fairs, and always a festival in the Christian calendar to mark the occasion and further to conceal the pagan past when the sun was a deity closely observed. It seems in the heart of winter, but actually, if you check times of sunrise and sunset, you’ll see that days are speedily lengthening. If you are a sheep farmer, you know that the earliest spring lambs are being dropped into an inhospitable world. I’ll never forget watching a calf being born during a February snow storm, finally dropping, into a lanky, steaming pile atop frozen mud.  What a welcome to our world!

 It has been asked whether “red or white” goes best with groundhog, but you won’t get an answer to the question here, even if my old Joy of Cooking does explain how to clean and bake one. I’d rather watch them in high summer, roly-poly trundling between fields, or standing up, on the lookout, giving their shrill whistles of warning. They are dedicated housekeepers, carpeting their dens with leaves, and keeping both a summer den—sometimes tucked under a barn or shed—and a more private winter den for hibernation, back up in the woods or in a hedgerow between fields. Asleep against the bosom of Mother Earth, the woodchuck is supposed to be especially well-attuned to her rhythms. But, as yesterday’s sleet covered crowd at the Punxsutawney Festival kept shouting to poor sleepy Phil, we’re pretty fed up with this year’s Old Man Winter, and we REALLY want him to go away.

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