Friday, May 10, 2013

The Protector of Pilots

The protector of pilots, as he has come to be known, is a monk on Mount Athos. Every time the Greek Military Air Force sends planes across the Northern part of Greece, the monk “persuades” the pilots to fly low in order for the monk to greet them by waving either the Greek or the Byzantine flag.

This friendship began years back, when Joseph was in Skyros (a small island in the Aegean Sea) for a local festivity. There he visited the Military Airbase, where one pilot recognised him. He was the monk, in a small scete, on one of the hill tops of the Holy Mountain. The monk waved and waves the flag, whilst the pilots fly low in order to show respect to the monk and the flag.

Monk Joseph has become well known within the community of pilots of the Greek Military Air Force, and so everyone flies low in order to greet the monk. This hermit, therefore, has become a protector of pilots. He sees them leave for the dogfights against the Turkish Military Air Force and expects to see them again after a while. However, many pilots have endeavoured and achieved to meet him in person. His cell is full of memorabilia. He has even been given a pilot’s uniform with his name (Monk Joseph) and next to it they have written “You are ready for the journey of life”.  

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