Priest Grigoris, the priest of Lycovrissi. He is a cruel man who compromises God and the gospels for his own ends. He vents his rage at unexpected times and in inappropriate settings. He indulges his gluttony at his parishioners’ expense. He jealously protects his position as sole Christian leader. Without compassion, he orders Fotis, a priest and leader of refugees fleeing Turkish cruelty, to take his people elsewhere. To frighten them, he announces an outbreak of cholera. Grigoris tries every trick to advance his own interests. He accuses Michelis and Manolios of stealing food from Archon Patriarcheas’ cellar to feed refugees. His approval of his daughter’s marriage to the archon’s son is a political move to enhance his political power.
Manolios, the most interesting character in this novel. He is betrothed to the chief magistrate’s illegitimate daughter Lenio. He is a handsome, well-liked, and good-hearted shepherd chosen to play Christ in the forthcoming Easter Passion Play. He tries all manner of purification to become worthy of the role. The young shepherd casts away all worldly things and appears saintlike to villagers. Eventually, Manolios takes his role even more seriously, trying to engage in Christ-like projects, one of which is to help Fotis’ desperate people. Manolios leads them to the top of Mount Sarakina, where they can settle in caves protected from wind and cold. He camps there and begins his purification process. He remains alone, fighting the desires of the flesh. He is successful in fighting his weaknesses, but his dreams are full of sinful imagery involving the village harlot, Katerina. His face breaks out in putrid sores. He tells his friends that the sores are given by God as punishment for his lewd dreams. He believes he must suffer martyrdom. He offers to give his life to save the elders of the village from being killed by Agha. He...
(The entire section is 795 words.)