West Cyclades

MILOS CATACOMBS

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In Klima, half a kilometer from the village of Tripiti and in a height of 73 - 95 meters above the surface of the sea, one can find the well-known Catacombs of Milos, religious monument. of great value and interest. There are seventy four catacombs in Europe, Asia and Africa but those of Milos, Rome's and Holy Land's are considered to be the most important findings of the beginning of Christian era.
The word "catacomb" was used for the first time in 1872 in the documents of Kyriakos Anastasios and maybe it has Latin origin or it derives for the compound word κατά + umbas = concavities or κατά + tumbas or from the greek word "κύμβη" which connotes the holy ground with cavities used for the burial of dead people.
    

It is estimated that from the 1st century A.C. until the end or the 5th century A.C. the catacombs were the place where the first Christians performed ceremonies of their devotional an liturgical life.

This admirable monument is a complex of three catacombs which is composed of long, low walkways, other shorter and a death chamber. The three main arcades communicate with each other through man-made corridors which created in the 20th century.

The cumulative length of all the corridors reaches 185 meters. There is a variety in the width since in some points it's 1 meter and in some others it can reach 5 meters. The height starts from 1.70 meters and reaches 2.5 meters.

Inside the walls and the ground there are 291 graves of different forms.

In the sides there are carved, arch-shaped tombs, known as "arkosolia", where the number of buried people fluctuates between one and seven.

There are also family graves. After the burial, a slab -usually of marble- was put over the opening an in between the slab and the rock, they used mud to seal it The graves were decorated with natural adornments and symbolic representations while it is believed that they were discovered in 1843. Researchers claim that 8.000 - 10.000 dead people were buried in the catacombs, but this number seems exaggerated, so it is believed that buried people must be around 2.000.

The celebration of All Saints' Day has been established by the Holy Synod of the Greek church as the official celebration of Milos catacombs on the 25th and 26th of June.

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