By Catherine Tsounis
Leaving St. Spyridon Church in Corfu City May 24th, I saw a group of Greek stores. Sophia Fokas’ Store was colorful, with icons, colorful silver and costume Greek jewelry, religious items and linens. I young woman caught my attention. Presvitera Krina Elena welcomed me and described the beautiful linens. I have Greek crochet work of the 1900’s from Tseme, Asia Minor, that my Greek family took or created in Chios. I was intrigued by the Byzantine designs.
“I will take you to St. Spyridon Church to see the tomb of St. Spyridon,” she said. “We will pray for health and prosperity. Every first day of the month St. Spyridon Church blesses Holy Oil and Holy Water. ” Presvitera Krina Elena is Romanian who is married to Greek Orthodox priest Father George Doukathes, a Canadian Greek. Her kindness and thoughtfulness illuminated her personality. She explained, “we have three children who must have tutoring for university entrance exams.” It appears public education is not doing its job.
“Many Russians and Romanians visit,” she said. “They believe in St. Spyridon and St. Nicholas. Many signs have Russian and Romanian writings.” She showed me a photo of her husband in a procession. I was able to get Holy Oil from proprietor Sophia Fokas that is not accessible in New York City. Sofia Fokas’ Store is located at 41 St. Spyridon St. Hospitality and kindness to the stranger is what I experienced. Do not listen to the negative reports. Now is the time to go to Greece.
Sofia Foka Shop, 41 St. Spyridon St., Corfu, Greece, tel. +302661041748
travel agent Hara Armeni,
Cover Photo: Presvitera Krina Elena (left) with Sofia Fokas and traditional linen.
Photo – Sofia Fokas Shop, Corfu City