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MEDITERRANEAN MEDIEVAL PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE Network for the documentation, preservation and enhancement of monuments in the euro -mediterranean area (EGERIA)
Start date: May 31, 2006, End date: Jun 29, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The EGERIA network constitutes a factual cooperation of 11 bodies (public authorities, institutes, NGO’s, private bodies) from 8 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. It aims at the development of a modern pilgrimage route that includes the far most valuable pilgrimage sites-cultural trademarks of the area, using the dynamic and experience of the appropriate bodies that systematically work for the cultural heritage. They contribute to regional development, preservation of the cultural scenery and natural environment but furthermore to creating the necessary terms for the social and economic development of the region through the vehicle οf cultural tourism. The idea Since ancient times pilgrimage has been an important form of religious activity, a ritual process in which the pilgrim as an individual strives to cleanse his/her mind and soul of worldly concerns, in pursuit of a higher spiritual state, thus enhancing of his/her life and spiritual status. Pilgrimage, as a peaceful and spiritual human activity, has resisted the pressures of passing centuries. Shrines and places of pilgrimage provide a common destination for those wishing to come together in peace and to enrich their own lives as well as to acquire spiritual grace through a journey of faith – a journey both real and symbolic. Such activities and places acquire even greater significance in these troubled times, especially in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Etheria, or Egeria, an Early Christian pilgrim (381 – 384 AD), visited the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in the Mediterranean, passing through Alexandria in Egypt, Thebes, the Sinai monastery, Palestine, Jerusalem, Galilee, Antioch, Edessa, Seleucia and Constantinople –leaving us an invaluable journal of her travels. We owe much of our knowledge of the important pilgrim monuments of the early Christian world to her faith, courage and meticulous record of what she had witnessed. The life and work of this remarkable woman were the inspiration behind our own preparation of this Proposal and our desire to establish a comprehensive itinerary of east Mediterranean places of pilgrimage – an act of homage to her memory as well as an aid to a modern pilgrim, an academic, a scholar, and all ordinary visitors with the thirst for knowledge.

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