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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>Religion Studies>BUILDING BRIDGES: A WHITE HABIT IN SANTORINI Summary

BUILDING BRIDGES: A WHITE HABIT IN SANTORINI

Article Summary   by:Beowulf     Original Author: Guillermo Tejon OP
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Bridges –
points of contact – between East and West are not only built by the two
Churches as such or their heads and official representatives, but also by
individual believers committed to the Cause of Reunification between Orthodoxy
and Catholicism.



Santorini
is a musical and poetic name, an idyllic and fascinating Greek island with a
history that goes back thousands of years. From prehistoric times and through
succeeding periods of various recorded occupations by a number of adventurers
and conquerors. It is known throughout history by the different names given to
the place by as many tribes of invaders and conquerors, until it settled for
Santorini (from Santa Erini – in honour of St. Irene, a Macedonian Christian
martyr of the fourth century) although it often continues to be known as “Thira.”
An island more than once submerged in the deep waters as a result of fierce
earthquakes and violent volcanic eruptions, and again resurfacing to shine once
more as a pearl in the Aegean
Sea. Inhabited by a
friendly, hospitable people and shining beacon to tourists in search of restful
place. An ideal spot for meditation… And right there, in the middle of such an
enchanted island, a Monastery of Dominican Contemplative Nuns. Founded as long
ago as 1596, the Monastery has witnessed many events, endured many trials, gone
through many crisis… and yet it is still there as the “Gospel Light,” on a
stand, spreading brightness all around: to Catholics, to Orthodox, to permanent
residents, to visiting tourists and truly a meeting place for East and West.



For
many years now, historians, theologians, liturgists, have been hard at work
analyzing facts, studying problems, discussing topics, evaluating
possibilities… in an effort to discover points of convergence that would
accelerate and move forward the pace of the desired union between the two
classical Christian worlds, the Orthodox and the Catholic. However, not only
historians, theologians and liturgists but also individual persons have left an
indelible mark on the road towards union. There are names which, although not
so famous and well known, have contributed and are contributing a worthy grain
of sand to the building of the desired union.



One is
Father Candido Garcia OP, a member of the Dominican Missionary Province of Our
Lady of the Rosary. In Santorini, Fr. Candido devoted himself wholeheartedly to
the study of the Greek language which he eventually came to master. He was in
the position to communicate with all he met on the island: natives, tourists
from various countries and, of course, the Nuns, themselves of various
nationalities. He was a well known sight on the island, going about in his
white habit, speaking to officials, tourists, dockyard workers, visitors,
Catholics and Orthodox… truly a man for all men and for all seasons and
attending to the spiritual needs of the
Dominican Nuns. After many years of dedicated work in various fields in the
Lord’s Vineyard, especially in Santorini, Fr. Candido’s health declined and,
with much regret on his part, he was forced to go back to the convent of Valladolid in Spain. His name stays alive in Santorini, the Dominican
Nuns, Catholics, Orthodox, tourists, all who knew him, compete with one another
in praising the extraordinary work he carried out on the island for the benefit
of all. It is repeatedly said of him that “he loved all and was loved by all.”
Fr. Candido Garcia OP is a “Bridge of Love” between East and West. He was destined to contribute
in building the bridge between the East and West to have unity.
Published: November 16, 2007   
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