Milos island, hotels apartment studios Greece Catacombs


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Milos Catacombs
     
Milos Catacombs
Milos Catacombs
Milos Catacombs
   
   
Milos Catacombs   Milos Catacombs   Milos Catacombs  
      Milos Catacombs    
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In the vicinity of the Ancient City, SSW of the village of Tripiti, 150 metres above sea level, on a comparatively steep hillside, are the Catacombs of Milos. This was the meeting place of the early Christians, where they held their religious ceremonies and buried their dead, out of sight of the pagans of that time and their persecutors. They are the largest examples in Greece and among the most remarkable in the world, together with the catacombs in Rome and the Holy Land.

The Catacombs were dug out of volcanic tufa, (a relatively soft rock), and form a magnificent early Christian monument, which indicates that Christianity was established on the island in the 1st century, developing greatly during the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. (Ludwig Ross, 1843). This theory of Ross would seem valid, since Miloan commerce during this period was prospering, both with Rome and the rest of the known world, according to Livy and Pliny.

The catacombs were discovered by illicit antique dealers and became known after they had been pillaged in 1840. There are three chambers linked by five corridors and a dead end passage, making up a labyrinth which is currently 185 metres long. These were all open to but today, only the 2nd chamber, the «presbytery», can be visited by the public.

Inside the catacombs, vaults can be seen in the walls which contain graves, and the floor has been used for this same purpose. The latest number of vaults recorded was 126 (Anna Petroheilou, 1972) and it is estimated that thousands of people were buried here. Each grave was lit by an oil lamp but today, lighting is electrical though discrete, evoking the atmosphere of the past.

On the graves of persons of distinction, Christian symbols and epitaphs can be seen. These were studied by Ross in 1843 and George Sotiriou in 1927, but unfortunately most of them have been destroyed by exposure to the elements.

The «presbytery» or «vicarage», takes its name from the vicar who is buried there. His vault is the 6th on the right in this central chamber and bears an identifying epitaph. In this same area, is a sarcophagus, a tomb made of carved rock, which is believed to be the burial place of one of the first Christian martyrs and which was used by the early Christians, as an altar during their religious services.

The catacombs were used as a secret place of worship until religious freedom was made legal by decree of Mediolanos or possibly until the ancient city of Klima was destroyed by earthquake, during the 5th or 6th century A.D.


Archaeological Museum - Folk Museum - Mining Museum - Catacombs
Ecclesiastical Museum - Churches - Sulphur mine - Fiestas


 
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