The Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, set on the hill above Kastro, offers a magical view of both the sea and nearly all of Sikinos island. This historical site in the Cyclades was built in 1690 and was a monastery for women.
For many years, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi was the only refuge from pirates raids and has now become one of the main attractions on the island. Although it was abandoned over 150 years ago, it’s now in great condition and the church in the centre is still active. Sitting at the edge of the cliff – 370m above sea level- the Monastery is dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary) and the Life Giving Spring.
Built during the period of piracy that spread after the great Cretan war of 1645-1669 between Venice and Christian allies against the Ottomans, the Monastery has the structure of a fortress: except for the northern side, which is naturally inaccessible. It is surrounded by high walls, with ramparts and embrasures. There were two towers on the southern part, of which only the one to the southeast survives, the south-western part having been reconstructed.
The sole entrance on the west side was protected by such a well-made gate, (local Juniper wood was used, clad in sheets of iron), that according to the stories, a pirate raiding party, had to move cannons all the way up, in order to breach the gate. Of course, the present door is a replacement, but the original has been kept in storage.
The works for its restoration began in 1978 and in 1979 on the day of its celebration it reopened its doors.
Inside, there is a large paved yard, with a low safety wall running along the precipice, which has a unique view to the northern sea, with the views of Antiparos (the narrow strip of sea separating Paros and Antiparos) directly across; and to the rest of the central and western Cyclades. From the southern part of the Monastery, you can see Sikinos at its widest. Inside you will also find a range of religious artifacts and historical items. If you are there at the right time, you may be greeted by the lovely nun who lives here and is happy to show visitors around.
Holy and Miraculous Icon
The sacred icon of Zoodochos Pigi, which according to the legend came from Paros, is kept in the church of Aghios Vassilis at Chorio and returns to the Monastery once a year for two days of celebrations during the Feast of Zoodochos Pigi, accompanied by all the faithful.
Feast Day of Zoodochos Pigi
Zoodochos Pigi, Bright Friday, is commemorated on the first Friday after Pascha (Greek Easter). On this day, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Life-Giving Spring, a title given to Panagia (Virgin Mary) and an actual miracle-working spring near Constantinople, with an Icon of the same name. The Monastery features a small outdoor spring with the icon of Panagia right above it.
Thousand of pilgrims arrive in Sikinos during this time to celebrate with a meal at the Monastery on the eve of the Feast Day; and on the day itself, there is a church service, followed by a Panigiri (festival) which includes traditional dishes, music, and dance.
Visiting the Monastery
The monastery can be visited during afternoon hours and please keep in mind it’s best to wear comfortable shoes as it requires some effort during the ascent on the cobbled footpath that starts from Kastro. The Monastery remains open to the public during the summer season from June through to September from 6 pm to 8 pm
You can either drive or reach the Monastery by walking up a stairway on the east side of the village.
A: 840 10 Sikinos
Ph: +30 22860 51263
Images by Sikinos Travel © (Copyright)