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The Assumption or "Summer Easter": 10 Greek churches which celebrate it

15 August 2013 / 00:08:49  GRReporter
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The church of the Assumption is located in the centre of the picturesque town of Agiasos. The church is known mainly for the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary with the infant. The church also houses the church museum which has a rich collection of manuscripts, vessels and other church plate.

The Assumption here is an amazing experience because believers, guests and local residents attend one of the greatest celebrations in the eastern Aegean Sea. A large number of believers leave from the town of Mytilini, walking 25 km to reach the church where they spend the night. On the day of the celebration, after the traditional liturgy, the people go round the church with the icon of the Virgin Mary and music and ring dances in the village square are its culmination.

Mainland Greece

Churches and monasteries dedicated to the Virgin Mary in many villages and towns in Greece celebrate the Assumption which has changed from mourning to a folklore religious feast.

Imatia – Panagia Soumela

Panagia Soumela Monastery ( rises proudly on one of the slopes of Vermio Mountains, near the village of Kastania. It was built in 1951 by Pontic Greek refugees in an attempt to restore the eponymous medieval monastery, the remains of which are on Mela mountain near Trebizond.

It houses the ancient miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary which, according to the legend, was created by Apostle Luke the Evangelist. A large number of believers gather there on 15 August to worship the icon and participate in the celebration, which continues for two days. Pontic groups from the region of Macedonia offer the people wonderful moments with traditional folk songs and dances.

Ferres, Evros region – Panagia Kosmosotira (Our Lady, Saviour of the World)

The monastery of Panagia Kosmosotira, which was built in 1151-1152, is located in the city of Ferres in the south-eastern part of the region of Evros. The Virgin Mary was declared patroness of all Thracians in the world.

The church celebrates liturgy on the afternoon of 15 August. A procession with the icon of the Virgin Mary sets off from the church and the celebration ends with folk songs and dances.

Siatista, Kozani region – Panagia of Mikrokastrou

The monastery of Panagia of Mikrokastrou dedicated to the Assumption is located very close to Siatista, in the village of Mikrokastrou (Little Fortress). The local residents worship the miraculous icon of the Mother of God which is in the monastery and, on 15 August, large groups of people ride decorated horses and visit the monastery to worship the Virgin Mary. They return to the city at lunchtime, where the celebrations with songs and dances in the streets and in the houses continue until dawn.

The custom is known as the "Riders of Siatista" and every year it attracts many visitors from all over Greece, as it is the largest and most glamorous celebration of the Assumption in the region of West Macedonia.

Grevena - Samarina and other villages

The feasts dedicated to the Virgin Mary are particularly splendid in the region of Grevena and especially in the mountain villages of the district. Thousands of guests from all over Greece gather there and the endless celebrations in the name of the Virgin Mary start.

The village of Samarina where the feast lasts for three days is at the centre of the celebration. The situation is similar in the neighbouring village of Avdela where, for five days, the square is dressed in festive decoration and is full of life.

Other churches that celebrate the Assumption are the churches of Panagia Faneromeni on the Island of Andros, Panagia Myrtidiotissa on the Island of Kythira, the church of Panagia in Kato Koufonisi and Panagia Ambelakiotisa in Nafpaktia, the churches of Panagia on the islands of Skiathos and Thassos as well as the churches in Zagorohori and many more.

Tags: The AssumptionChurchesPilgrimsSolemn liturgyProcession
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