Blessings and Vows
An octogenarian villager, Mrs. Metaxia Anaplioti, kept her vow for 49 years, lighting a candle daily at the 11th century Byzantine church of Hagioi Theodoroi in Vamvaka, Mani, in Southern Greece. This act of piety contributes to her personal sense of identity as much as to the collective identity of the village by asserting the connection to the particular place, keeping alive customs of the village’s forebearers. This continuity of customs must be protected much like the territory the church was originally built to protect, recycling building stones from earlier periods repurposed for the new construction. The pastiche of various historical periods in the building of the church, and the diachronic preservation of the church across ten centuries sustains collective identity claims for the villagers. A sense of historical continuity is sustained by memory, belief, imagination and narrative.