Visiting Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos 

The 15th of August is one of the biggest religious celebrations in Greece, as it’s a national holiday celebrating the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary).

On this day thousands of pilgrims from Greece and overseas make their way over to Tinos to visit Panagia Evangelistria, also known as the Lady of Tinos, who is the Patron Saint of Greece. Known for many miracles, people come to pay their respects and to also pray for Panagia to intercede for them.

Insights Greece - Visiting Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos 
Panagia of Tinos

History of Panagia Evangelistria

In July 1822, a nun named Pelagia, who lived in a monastery in Tinos, had a dream of Panagia (Virgin Mary). In the dream, Panagia explained that Her miraculous icon was buried in a field and asked Pelagia to organise the excavation of the holy icon and the construction of a church. Soon afterward, the procedures began and the Metropolitan Bishop, along with authorities and the locals of Tinos all became involved in the search.

On January 30, 1823, the miraculous icon came to light. It depicted the Annunciation of the Virgin, along with the Archangel Gabriel. Locals also discovered a spring of holy water on the site. The imposing Church of Evaggelistria was built at this site where the Icon of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Evaggelismos) was discovered.

The Holy Icon of Panagia Tinos 

The icon was unearthed at the time of Greece’s Independence War against the Ottoman Empire and its discovery was seen as a miracle and message from Panagia. Immediately after the discovery, the message rapidly spread throughout Greece and people arrived from every corner of the country to worship the Holy Icon and pray for the liberation of the Nation. Important historical figures of the revolution arrived at Tinos to pay respect to the icon. 

The Church

Insights Greece - Visiting Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos 
The church was completed in 1826

The Panagia Tinos church was built on the exact site where the icon was discovered and the materials used included marble from the nearby island of Delos. The construction of the Panagia Tinos church was completed in 1826 and the wonderful courtyard was finalised several decades later, in 1880.

Located on a prominent site in the Hora of Tinos, the Holy Church is a three-aisled Basilica with a cupola over the Holy Altar. It consists of two five-arched colonnades with four marble columns each. 

When entering the church from the central gate, to the left of the entrance you can see the iconostasis where the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is kept, which is surrounded by votive offerings (small metal plaques) left by pilgrims.

The Church remains to this date without substantial changes, except for the main facade and the bell tower. Next to the Church to the west, is the old (pre 19th century) Church of John the Precursor. The bell tower stands dominant and imposing and today it stands 29 metres high and it has retained its original stone base.

The Holy Icon inside Panagia Evangelistria 

Today, you will find the miraculous icon on your left-hand side upon entering the main church. You will also see many votive offerings that have been left by pilgrims. 

Red Carpet Panagia of Tinos 

Insights Greece - Visiting Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos 
A red carpet leads pilgrims to the church

The church of Panagia is located up on a hill in Chora and as you make your way over you will find a long red carpet stretching across the town, all the way from the church entrance down to the port. The carpet has been made for people visiting Tinos on a pilgrimage. Many of them head towards the church of Panagia on their hands and knees, as they make their way over to pray to Panagia. 

Zoodohos Pigi (Life-giving Spring)

This church is located directly beneath the Church of Evangelistria and is the exact site of the discovery of the holy Icon, above which the church was built. The first arcade, where the holy water is kept, is also the location where the Holy Icon was discovered.

Museums and collections

Surrounding the church you will find many museums and exhibits that feature important icons collected by the Holy Foundation from the Parish Churches of Tinos, promoting the island’s tradition of Orthodox Iconography. It includes icons that are the product of dedications made by the faithful from various places, as well as the wooden carvings, engravings, and ecclesiastical relics.  In other spaces around the church, you can also see works of ecclesiastical silver smithery and gold embroidery, exhibited in elegant showcases

Insights Greece - Visiting Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos 
Panagia Evangelistria’s main Feast Day is on August 15

Small Chapel

There is a small chapel located in the exterior central entrance of the complex, where pilgrims may light their candles, as this is not permitted inside the main Church in order to protect it.  


Guesthouses are located nearby, and each pilgrim may be accommodated free of charge for up to three days.

Tips for travelling to Panagia Tinos 

-When you take a ferry to Tinos you will arrive at the main port. The church sits at the top of a hill, about 800 metres away. 

-August and especially August 15, is the most popular time for visitors, so if you would like to avoid the crowds it is best you visit during another time. 

– When visiting the church keep in you must dress appropriately; knees and shoulders must be covered. 

Getting there

Tinos can be reached from both Piraeus and Rafina ports in Athens, but Rafina is a better choice if you’re going direct from Athens airport. Tinos is 3 hours and 40 minutes by ferry from the port of Rafina, a 30-minute drive from Athens airport. From Piraeus, you will need 4-5 hours to reach Tinos. If you don’t want to pass by Athens, you can take a flight to Mykonos and then you will reach Tinos by boat in 20 minutes. 

Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter Eggs

Red-dyed Greek Easter eggs are a symbol of Resurrection, with the colour red representing the blood of Christ and the egg symbolising the sealed Tomb from which Jesus Christ arose after His Crucifixion. 

Traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday (along with the baking of homemade Tsoureki and homemade Koulourakia), they are cracked after midnight mass on Holy Saturday, representing Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. 

There are a few ways of dyeing red eggs, depending on the brand and you should always follow the instructions. This recipe is for a sachet where you boil the eggs first and then dip them into the red dye.

Insights Greece - Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter EggsIngredients 

-10 gm x red egg dye

-500ml x boiling water

-3 x tablespoons vinegar

-12 x eggs

-pinch of salt

-olive oil (for polishing)


Wash eggs in cool water and place in a large saucepan filled with water and a pinch of salt. 

-Boil the eggs on low heat for about 20 minutes or until they are hard-boiled. 

-In the meantime, place red dye into a clean bowl and add vinegar.

-Boil 500 ml of water in a saucepan or kettle and add to red dye. Stir and set aside.

-When eggs are boiled and still hot, submerge the eggs in the dye and keep them in the dye for around 1 minute or until desired shade is achieved. 

-Place about 2 x tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl and lightly dab paper towel with olive oil. Polish each egg with the paper towel evenly to give them a nice shine. 

Top Tips for Dyeing Red Easter Eggs 

-To achieve a vibrant red, use fresh, yellow eggs that are at room temperature before boiling. 

Insights Greece - Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter Eggs-Always wash eggs before boiling to ensure the shell is clean. 

-Make sure to add vinegar to the red dye.

-Always boil eggs on low heat, to avoid cracking.

– Make sure to polish each egg with olive oil for a complete shine.  

Kali Anastasi to all those celebrating Pascha!

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Tsiknopempti, Greece’s Traditional Barbecue Thursday 

For meat-lovers, there’s no better day to be in Greece than during the celebration of Tsiknopempti, a special day commemorated every year throughout the country, where Greeks grill and enjoy their favourite meat dishes before entering Easter lent. 

The holiday is a part of the Greek Carnival celebrations and signals the start of the last weekend before Sarakosti (40 days of fasting for Easter Lent). It takes place today eleven days before the start of Greek Orthodox Lent, Clean Monday.

Insights Greece - Tsiknopempti, Greece’s Traditional Barbecue Thursday 

What does Tsinopemto mean?

Tsiknopempti comes from the word ‘tsikna’, which refers to the smell of cooked or roasted meat, and ‘pempti’, Thursday. It is said that Thursday was chosen by the Greek Orthodox church as traditionally, Wednesday and Friday are considered days of fasting.

Traditions of Tsiknopempti

People all around Greece today prepare and enjoy their most loved meat dishes for Tsiknopempti, which gives it one of its other common names: Smoky Thursday. Most of these meat dishes are grilled on the bbq. 

Insights Greece - Tsiknopempti, Greece’s Traditional Barbecue Thursday 

It’s also a popular day for going out to eat and enjoying as many different meats as possible. Most taverns and restaurants serve a special range of meat dishes today and the smell of smoke is in the air on every street corner. If you happen to be in Greece during this time, you will see barbecue grills set up in the streets in front of homes, tavernas, cafes, and restaurants.

Traditional Tsiknopempti Dishes

The most popular meat is of course souvlaki (skewered meat), but there are also BBQ sausages, steaks, chops, kontosouvli and the meat is a range of pork, beef, chicken, veal, and goat.  

Mid-Apollonos Street: Where to Shop for Greek Orthodox Items in Athens

Venture outside the tourist box to see how Athens’ ever-changing present syncs with its age-old past! The book ‘111 Places in Athens You Shouldn’t Miss’ was written to offer you exactly that.

This is just one of 10 unmissable places that even locals often miss, offered exclusively for IN+SIGHTS GREECE readers by the guide’s publishers EMONS.

Insights Greece - Mid-Apollonos Street: Where to Shop for Greek Orthodox Items in Athens

From halfway down Apollonos Street you’ll start noticing a whole series of very different kinds of shops, their windows decorated with glittering religious bric-à-brac and paraphernalia. Look inside and observe jewel-encrusted crosses, hand-painted icons, and churchy candelabras. Prepare yourself to see around 20 such shops ahead; on both sides of the street, you can feast your eyes on a vast array of ecclesiastical accessories and elaborately hand-crafted cloths for liturgical garments.

Reflecting the massive influence of the Greek Orthodox Church in a country where religion is a core element of national identity, the shops stream all the way to Agia Filothei Street, right behind the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. Some are modern and polished, while others belong to a long-gone era. The first such shop to open in 1926 belongs to renowned iconographer Konstantinos Zouvelos, whose work can be seen in churches around Greece as well as New York, San Francisco and Vancouver. With his wife and son, they create religious artefacts of all varieties; among their one-of-a-kind pieces are an elaborate, stone-encrusted silver brooch shaped like the Star of Bethlehem with an engraving of the Virgin Mary on mammoth tusk at its centre.

A little further down look out for Tasi, opened in 1986, which is jam-packed with hand-painted icons, incense burners and good luck charms featuring saints. See the many tamata, small metal plaques, each depicting an ailing part of the body and used as a votive offering, usually placed on a miraculous icon in a church. Also rewarding is a visit to Hilton, which centres its trade on handmade mate- rials for every echelon of the clergy, selling everything from basic €100 plain black cotton robes to intricately designed, hand-sewn cloths in bold threads like silver or gold on velvet, satin and silk, worth up to €500 per metre.

Insights Greece - Mid-Apollonos Street: Where to Shop for Greek Orthodox Items in Athens

Address: Apollonos Street, Syntagma, Athens 10556

Getting there: Metro to Syntagma (M 2 & M 3)

Hours: Regular shop hours Mon, Wed & Sat 9am – 5.30pm, Tue, Thu & Fri 9am – 7.30pm.

Tip: Light a candle in the Athens Cathedral and see the relics of the city’s Patron Saint Agia Filothei, encased in a golden, bejewelled box.

111 Places in Athens That You Shouldn’t Miss can be found at all major bookstores worldwide as well as online at Amazon.