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. 

15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos

One of the most wonderful and unique experiences for visitors to Greece over summer is attending a Panigiri (festival), which take place all over the country. The most glorious Panigiri of all is that of Dekapedavgoustos, which honours Panagia (Virgin Mary) and is celebrated with reverent services and wonderful festivities. 

Held during the peak of summer, August 15 celebrates the assumption of the Virgin Mary– a date that is one of the most important in the Greek Orthodox calendar. Also known as the ‘Summer Easter,’ August 15 is a national holiday that is celebrated throughout the country and includes festivities and fairs that last for days. 

During this period you will find central squares in villages and the courtyards of the churches filled with locals and international visitors who celebrate a day filled with good food, drinks, music, dancing, fireworks and a taste of local culture and traditions. 

Every destination in Greece celebrates August 15 in its own wonderful way and to honour this special occasion, here we’ve put together a list of our 15 favourite Greek islands to experience Dekapendavgoustos. 


The most popular celebration in the country for the commemoration of Panagia’s passing takes place on the island of Tinos, which is home to the Greek Orthodox Church’s holiest church, the Panagia Evangelistria. Thousands of pilgrims arrive in Tinos each year on August 15 to the church that is home to a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, discovered underground in 1823. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


August 15 is a day-long celebration of the Monastery of Faneromeni in Frini, above Lefkada Town. This is a popular pilgrimage on Lefkada island from the 14 to the 15th of August. Panagia is the Patron Saint of Lefkas and all the orthodox churches of the island honour Panagia during these days with church services and celebrations that includes lots of local food and drinks. 


Celebrating the Virgin of Portaitissa over three days with numerous festivities and events; here you will eat, drink, dance and be merry amongst locals who celebrate in the main town with musicians who make sure the crowds are up and dancing day and night. 


Although there are festivals taking place all over the island, the villages of Pyles, Olympos and Menetes celebrate August 15th until the following day. Here you will find women dressed in their traditional costumes and as they walk to the church service you will see women with bread baskets decorated with flowers as an offering to Panagia. The services are followed by a huge feast, with local music and dancing. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


The largest island of the Dodecanese has many traditional festivities and events celebrating Dekapendavgoustos, however, the biggest of all takes place at Panagia Kremasti, a village known for its huge panigiri dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Locals come here to take part in the huge street fair that includes free food, drinks and music. During this time the island also celebrates Panagia Tsambika, the island’s holy and miraculous monastery. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


Ikaria, is by far the most famous island in Greece for panigiria, and during Dekapendavgousto, the village of Lagada is most well known. Here you will find thousands of locals and tourists of all ages dancing in a giant circle to the Ikariotiko. There is also plenty of local dishes and drinks going around- making it an experience to remember. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


On the 15th of August, the most popular celebrations in Lesvos take place in the village of Agiassos, home to Panagia Agiasotissa. Along with a church service and plenty of food and drinks, visitors are also invited to enjoy cultural events such as theatrical performances, dances, exhibitions and concerts. 



August 15th is celebrated in the port town of Parikia, where you will enjoy spectacular fireworks. The Ekatontapiliani church next to the port of Paros is the spot where most people head to on 15 August, as Navy ships also pay their respects to Panagia. There is a procession of the Epitaph of the Virgin Mary and the peak of the celebration is in the evening, with a large festival featuring local music and a fantastic fireworks display from the boats in the bay. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


The island of Sikinos hosts one of the Aegean’s most famous panigiria on August 15th in its Hora. During the celebration, the icon of Panagia is carried around during a procession. In the afternoon there is a church liturgy and the day ends with a huge feast and non-stop music and dance. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


The largest Cycladic island is known for its wonderful festivals and on the 15th of August the entire island hosts events with traditional food, music and dancing. The most popular one takes place in Filoti village, however, there are also great festivals celebrating Panagia at Agersani, Apollona and Apeirantho.


In Spetses, the church of the Dormition of Theotokos in Kasteli celebrates Dekapendavgoustos with wonderful traditions and the whole island attends the festivities to honour the great occasion.

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


Every year in Hydra, the beginning of August marks the start of the “Theomitorika” events, which are organised by the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Festivities peak on August 15 and last all the way through to August 22, as the entire month of August is dedicated to Panagia. 


Nisyros’ largest panigiri dedicated to Panagia is held in Emporio, a charming mountainous village. Locals and visitors gather at communal tables and spend hours eating, drinking, singing and dancing together. Locals start preparing dishes days in advance, as they feed their visitors all day long. 


On the day of the Dormition of the Virgin, Patmos celebrates with a big feast at the Monastery of Panagia Geranou. Traditional dancing, singing, and food are served at events that take place all over the island, mainly in Skala, Kambos and Chora. Church services are held on the 14th and 15th including the procession of Megali Panagia in Chora, next to the monastery of Saint John. 

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos


Locals celebrate this Holy Feast from August 6 through to the 15th in the village of Markopoulou, home to Panagia Fidousa, where many snakes of all kinds and sizes are found inside and outside the church. According to legend, this began when the island was attacked by the pirate Barbarossa in 1705 and the nuns in the convent at Markopoulou prayed to Panagia to help them escape and were turned into snakes. Since then, “Virgin Mary’s snakes” enter the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church and head for the icon of the virgin. The snakes are harmless and, according to locals, bring good luck to the island.

Insights Greece - 15 Greek Islands to Visit for Dekapendavgoustos

12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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. 

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.  

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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. 

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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. 

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.

Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 

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.


Insights Greece - 12 Beautiful Greek Island Churches Dedicated to Panagia 


Kalo Dekapendavgousto and a blessed August to all!