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"Blessings and Vows"
Producer, director, script. © 2018 Katerina Zacharia, Athenoe productions.
Short documentary on the 11th century Byzantine church of Hagioi Theodoroi in Vamvaka, Mani in southern Greece, and its place in the memory and identity of the village.
Dedicated to the memory of Metaxia Anaplioti (1939-2018).

The copyright of the depicted antiquities belongs to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports
© 2018 Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports - N. 3028/2002
Publication Date
October, 2018
An octogenarian villager, Mrs. Metaxia Anaplioti, kept her vow for 49 years, lighting a candle daily at the 11th century Byzantine church of Hagioi Theodoroi in Vamvaka, Mani, in Southern Greece. This act of piety contributes to her personal sense of identity as much as to the collective identity of the village by asserting the connection to the particular place, keeping alive customs of the village’s forebearers. This continuity of customs must be protected much like the territory the church was originally built to protect, recycling building stones from earlier periods repurposed for the new construction. The pastiche of various historical periods in the building of the church, and the diachronic preservation of the church across ten centuries sustains collective identity claims for the villagers. A sense of historical continuity is sustained by memory, belief, imagination and narrative. 

  • Best Documentary, Grecanica International Film Festival, Calabria, Italy
  • The Georgio Voyatsis Special Jury Award for Symi International Film Festival, Greece
  • Best Documentary for December 2018, Festigious Los Angeles Monthly Film Competition
  • Best Documentary (under 40 min) for December 2018, Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival, Moscow
  • Finalist for Best Short Documentary for December 2018, The Monthly Film Festival, Glasgow, UK
  • Finalist for Best Short Documentary for February 2019, CFIFF (Changing Face International Film Festival), Sydney, Australia
  • Finalist, Oniros Film Awards (100 best reviewed festivals 2018)
  • Semi-finalist, JellyFEST, biannual North Hollywood Film Festival, Aug. 2019
  • Semi-finalist for Best Short Documentary (March 2019), Utah Film Festival and Awards.
  • Pre-selected for the 42nd International Short Film Festival in Drama; available for private screenings on the Market–Videolibrary of the Festival (Sept. 15-21, 2019) for representatives of foreign festivals, film critics, journalists.
  • Official Selection, West Side Mountains Doc Fest (Epirus, Greece)
  • Official Selection, Chania Film Festival 
  • Official Selection, NYC Greek Film Festival
  • Official Selection, South Eastern European Film Festival, Los Angeles
  • Official Selection, London Greek Film Festival, UK
  • Official Selection, Moscow Shorts ISFF Awards
  • Official Selection, International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra, Crete
  • Official Selection, Under the Stars International Film Festival, Bari, Italy
  • Official Selection, Dumbo Film Festival, Brooklyn, NYC
  • Official Selection The Lift Off Sessions, UK​
Citation Information
"Blessings and Vows" (2018). Short documentary, directed, produced and written by Katerina Zacharia. © 2018 Katerina Zacharia, Athenoe productions
Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-ND International License.