Kazantzakis met Sikelianos at he offices of the Educational Society in November 1914. Almost immediately, both men recognised each other as spiritual companions. Three days later they left for Mount Athos on a pilgrimage tour lasting forty days. They studied Tolstoy, Buddha and Dante, and made plans for a new religion.
Over the following years they travelled together in Greece, and Kazantzakis spent some considerable time at Sikelianos’ house in Sykia near Corinth. In 1920 ideological differences caused a parting of the ways. Their friendship was rekindled in 1942, but the fact that both were candidates for the Nobel Prize led to a second cooling off in relations. Sikelianos’ death in 1951 greatly saddened Kazantzakis, who acknowledged that he owed part of his spiritual makeup to the poet from Lefkada.