Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in Symi

The Holy Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis is one of the most popular attractions on Symi island. Located on the sea front of the tiny village of Panormitis, the Monastery was built in the 6th century, but what stands today is the restoration of the new building of the 18th century.

How to get here

You can arrive via a ferry or excursion boat from the port of Symi or from the island of Rhodes. If you are already in Symi, you can also catch a bus or taxi from the town, which takes about an hour.

The Monastery

Insights Greece - Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in SymiA Venetian-styled building with its high baroque bell tower, the facade of the main structure is white and it stretches along the coast on either side of the main gateway. The inner courtyard has its own church along with some pebble courtyards.

The Church

The interior of the church is covered with iconography (of particular interest is the ‘fall of the angels’ mural at the back of the church) and is decorated with very elaborate chandeliers. Many baptisms and weddings take place here throughout the year.

The Museums

There are two museums– a folklore and a religious one. One houses ecclesiastical art, and is rich in exhibits like pontificals, silver icons, Russian epitaphs, and ecclesiastical utensils, ship model offerings brought to Panormitis from far away by the sea, and one of folk art with important objects of the folk culture of the island relevant to fishing, agriculture, and shepherding. There is also a library with Byzantine manuscripts and editions of ecclesiastical, historical, and philological content, as well as a gallery with paintings of the landscape of the monastery and its two chapels.

Who is Archangel Michael Panormitis? 

Insights Greece - Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in Symi

Archangel Michael is the Patron Saint and protector of Symi and of sailors. Archangel Michael is known to perform miracles for those who pray for his intercession. The Archangel is famous in the Dodecanese for his righteous nature. If you have made an offering to him and do not fulfill it, he will make it clear through various miracles that he is not pleased – until you complete your promise.

The Icon

It is said that a holy icon of the Archangel appeared miraculously and, on several occasions, was removed only to reappear mysteriously in this same location. The church was then built over the location. The church dedicated to the Archangel now contains a two-metre-high, silver-leafed wall icon of Panormiti. 

What else you will find here

Elsewhere at Panormitis you will find a little bay, guarded by the beautifully restored windmill on the western headland. The small beach with fine sand is very peaceful. There is also a local bakery, which is always packed with people trying the freshly made Symian pies, biscuits and breads.

Kefalonia’s Holy Monastery of Agios Gerasimos

Every year thousands of pilgrims from around the world arrive at Kefalonia for a blessing at the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to visit this spiritual and sacred site again, which is home to a 16th-century church complex with a modern chapel, courtyard, gardens, and most importantly the tomb and relics of the Holy Saint, who once lived here, and is known to perform miracles upon those who pray for his intercession.


The monastery is located 15km from Argostoli and is found on the plateau of Omalon, near the villages of Valsamata and Fragata. The easiest way to get here is by car, however, during peak season, there are buses that arrive daily from the main town.

Who was Agios Gerasimos?

Agios Gerasimos is the Patron Saint of Kefalonia and known for his protecting and healing powers, especially for those with mental illness. Born in 1503 in Trikala, he was ordained a monk at Mount Athos, then went to Jerusalem where he lived for 12 years, before passing through Crete and Zakynthos and finally arriving in Kefalonia where he died on August 15 in 1579. Agios Gerasimos spent his first five years in a cave in the area of Lassi. He subsequently cultivated the area where the monastery of Agios Gerasimos now exists. The monastery which he established cared for the poor and became a charity centre.

What can be seen at the Monastery today

The body of Agios Gerasimos is at the monastery and made available for veneration as miraculously, it has never decomposed. After his death, he was buried twice and exhumed intact, thus leading the church to ordain him as a Saint in 1622. Today, his relics are saved in a double glass reliquary placed above the Saint’s tomb, which is dressed in burial robes and displayed for worship. I was lucky enough to have been there at a certain time when the casket was opened by the nun and high priest on duty, who was saying a prayer. There is a book inside the church where you are able to write the names of family and friends who you wish to receive Agios Gerasimos’ blessing. You are also able to give the priest a piece of paper with names to be read out loud, while the casket is open.

Enter Agios Gerasimos’ Cave

At the back of the church is a trap door that leads down a narrow passage to two small caves where Agios Gerasimos lived before the monastery was built. Visitors can climb down a three-metre ladder to see the caves that were built by the saint himself. After reaching the first cave, you can visit a second smaller one with a tiny entrance.

The modern church next door

Next to the small chapel is a much larger modern church, richly decorated with ancient icons. Ceiling murals depict scenes from the Old Testament, the birth and baptism of Christ and the Annunciation, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Miracle of Pentecost. It includes a fresco of the death of Agios Gerasimos depicted with Christ near his deathbed holding his hand over the Saint’s soul depicted as a child in swaddling clothes.

Outdoor garden

In the main monastery courtyard, you will see a big plane tree and a well. The tree is said to have been planted and the well dug with the saint’s own hands. The area is well known for its wells and visitors to the monastery may pass through the garden containing 40 of them.

When can I visit?

Visits to the monastery can be made every day between 8 am to 1 pm and 3.30 pm to 9 pm. Make sure to be appropriately dressed, otherwise, there are apron-like dresses that you can wear, as women’s knees and shoulders must be covered at all times while you are inside the church.

A: Moni Agiou Gerasimoi,

Omala Plain Frangata

PH: +30 2671 086385

All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)