In Greece, the first day of August marks the first day of the Dormition Fast, as August is the month dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary).
Each year, the Greek Orthodox church dedicates the first fifteen days in August, to Panagia, and on August 15th the faithful gather in neighbouring churches dedicated to Panagia that are known as Dormition, Koimisis, and/or Assumption.
This annual feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, which begins today, is referred to as the “Pascha of the Summer” or “Summer Pascha”.
In honour of today, we take a look at 12 of the most beautiful churches located on the Greek islands that are dedicated to Virgin Mary, Mother of God; many of them built on rocks, hills, or even in caves along the stunningly beautiful shorelines of the Aegean Sea- all are dedicated to Panagia and filled with religious miracles.
Panagia Megalochari, Tinos
Located on the island of Tinos, this is one of the holiest sites in Greece, as Panagia (Virgin Mary) is said to have visited the island and Panagia Megalochori is known as the protector of the country. It was constructed on top of a hill where people found the icon of the Virgin Mary, believed to be the source of miracles.
Panagia Ekatotapiliani, Paros
The Church of 100 Doors is situated in Parikia and is said to be one of the earliest Byzantine churches in Greece, built in the middle of the 4th century. Legend has it that the church has 99 visible doors, with the hidden, locked 100th door set to appear and open only when Constantinople becomes Greek again.
Panagia Tsambika, Rhodes
Known for the many miracles in helping couples conceive, thousands of pilgrims walk up 300 steep steps to visit the Holy Monastery of Panagia Tsambika. Perched at an altitude of some 240 m, it offers some truly spectacular views of the coast
Panagia Kalamiotissa, Anafi
Perched atop the promontory of Kalamos, which is connected to the rest of Anafi by a narrow stretch of land; the church was built in the 19th Century with many ruins from a temple dedicated to the god Apollo.
Panagia of Kythnos
Panagia Kanala Church is a little oasis located along a dry Cycladic landscape. Surrounded by countless pine trees and a panoramic sea view, this is a place that combines religious interest, with the beauty of the Aegean archipelago.
Panagia Makrini, Samos
Panagia Makrini was built during the 10th century as part of a larger monastery and bones from previous ascetic monks were also found here. Visiting this site involves an easy hike through a lush forest and caves surrounded by turquoise.
Panagia Tourliani, Milos
Dedicated to the Virgin Mary it’s located in Klimatovouni, a hill above the area of Klima- boasting old icons and courtyards overlooking the bay of Adamantas.
Koimisi Tis Theotokou, Folegandros
Built into the side of a steep hillside overlooking the main town of the island, the church is famous for its icon of Panagia, which was brought over from Constantinople and is said to perform miracles.
Panagia Krina, Chios
Located near Vavili and to the southwest of Kambia, this is one of the oldest churches in Chios, built in 1287, it is filled with holy murals and icons.
Panagia Hozoviotissa, Amorgos
This is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in the Aegean standing on the slopes of Amorgos island. This impressive 11th-century structure built into the face of a cliff is 300 meters above the sea, where a miraculous icon of the Virgin, patron saint of the island, was found.
Panagia Chrysopigi, Sifnos
This famous church was built in 1615 as a home to an icon of Zoodochos Pigi (the life-giving spring, that is the Virgin Mary) that was salvaged from the sea by fishermen.
Panagia Kakaviotissa, Limnos
This “roofless” church, sits on top of a cave in which it’s nestled, in a crag on Mt Kakavos, 4 kilometers from Myrina. The church dates back at least to 1305 when it became a branch of the Great Lavra Monastery of Mount Athos.
Kalo Dekapendavgousto and a blessed August to all!