Digression: Two years later on the island of Naxos I would meet a friendly potteryshop owner with a slightly different, but just as startling, demeanor. Certain Greek men speak, it seems, with a combination of earnestness, loudness, and gesticulation that turns the basic communication of two such men into a strenuous, manly sport. Upon my meeting the potter he stared at me for a few seconds as though I might be a war-criminal, then after shouting some words and gesturing toward various points of the compass, my translator son-in-law said: "He says it's nice to meet you!" Sure, I thought. "Tell him, me too." But I am pretty sure he was saying something like: "So now you are bringing Americans into my shop in the off season just to make it impossible for me to get my work done!" Or maybe the more ironic: "Hello, nice to meet you! As you can see I have no work to do!"
We had planned to bypass the small chapel on the way to the isthmus-- but the path had narrowed and led directly to the front door.of it. The door was unlocked so we peeked in, and what we saw drew us inside. In Greece, one finds oneself to be distracted by sheer textures of light, as though, in shaded areas, the light is not merely cast about, but woven into fascinating compositions of palpable substance. A thick, buttery light, I think I said elsewere. Perhaps a dozen closely-packed visitors could fit into the chapel at one time. In daytime, more-than-adequate light streamed in through a single window facing the bay. In the back was an altar, along the walls and in recesses, iconography in super-saturated colors.
Tinos is a sacred island for the Greeks. Many pilgrims visit annually, and most of the resident families of the island build their own chapels in addition to frequenting the island's famous larger churches. The chapels are often in remote locations-- one wonders if that is to make it a pilgrimmage for the builder whenever they visit their chapel? Or instead, perhaps, the remoteness is a way of leaving the mundane world, finding a place unspoiled by sins of man? East and West Christianity meet on the island, Rome and Bizantium mixed. Churches and chapels are of either sort, but possibly much the same from what I personally saw.
I tried to imagine The Greek Who Shouts showing us this silent, sacred place, but the contrast was too great for me. I wondered if, in this space, his troubled soul grew quiet? Or maybe he prayed just as loudly too?