Patmos

Patmos is considered as the island of Apocalypse , since the island is reputed to be where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse.

Its main communities are Chora (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos.

The churches and communities are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In 1999, the island’s historic center Chora, along with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.The monastery was founded by Saint Christodulos.

Patmos is mentioned in the Bible Book of Revelation. The book’s introduction states that its author, John, was there when he was given (and recorded) a vision from Jesus. Early Christian tradition identified this writer John of Patmos as John the Apostle, though some modern scholars are uncertain. As such, Patmos is a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Visitors can see the cave where John is said to have received his Revelation (the Cave of the Apocalypse), and several monasteries on the island are dedicated to Saint John.

More information about Patmos: http://www.patmos-island.com/

Agion Oros / Mount Athos

Aghion Oros

Agion Oros has the richest treasures. It is the richest in quality and quantity Greek region with Byzantine and post byzantine art works. Monumental painting, portable pictures, manuscripts with pictures or not, work of miniature art embroideries, art works made of wood, ceramics, but also functional ecclesiastical utensils, tools of laboratories, equipment and furniture, are few of the material testimonies of this cultural heritage. The cultural heritage of Mouth Athos is not limited only in the marvelous art works and unique heirlooms of Temples, Holy Abbeys, and cages but is also extended in the incomparable and also unique natural environment, the landscape that surrounds it. These are some of the innumerable places, which the “religious tourist” can visit.

The self-governed region of the Holy Mountain, according to the Decree passed by the Holy Community on 3 October 1913 and according to the international treaties of London (1913), Bucharest (1913), Neuilly (1919), Sèvres(1920) and Lausanne (1923), is considered part of the Greek state. The Decree, “made in the presence of the Holy Icon of Axion Estin”, stated that the Holy Community recognised the Kings of Greece as the lawful sovereigns and “successors on the Mountain” of the “Emperors who built” the monasteries and declared its territory as belonging to the then Kingdom of Greece.

Political instability in Greece during the mid-20th century that affected Mount Athos included Nazi occupation from the Easter season of 1941 through late 1944, followed immediately by the Greek Civil War in a struggle where Communist efforts failed. The Battle of Greece was reported in Time Magazine, “The Stukas swooped across the Aegean skies like dark, dreadful birds, but they dropped no bombs on the monks of Mount Athos”. After the Nazi takeover of Greece, the Epistassia, Athos’s four-member executive committee, formally asked Hitler to place the Autonomous Monastic State under his personal protection, and Hitler agreed. Mount Athos survived World War II nearly untouched, and for the remainder of the war, the monks of Mount Athos referred to Adolf Hitler as “High Protector of the Holy Mountain” (German: Hoher Protektor des heiligen Berges).

Later a “Special Double Assembly” of the Holy Community in Karyes passed the “Constitutional Charter” of the Holy Mountain, which was ratified by the Greek Parliament. This regime originates from the “self-ruled monastic state”as stated on a chrysobull parchment signed and sealed by the Byzantine Emperor Ioannis Tzimisces in 972. This important document is preserved in the House of the Holy Administration in Karyes. The self-rule of the Holy Mountain was later reaffirmed by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos in 1095.

According to the constitution of Greece, Mount Athos (the “Monastic State of Agion Oros”) is, “following ancient privilege”, “a self-governed part of the Greek State, whose sovereignty thereon shall remain intact”, and consists of 20 main monasteries which constitute the Holy Community, and the capital town and administrative centre, Karyes, also home to a governor as the representative of the Greek state. The governor is an executive appointee. The status of the Holy Mountain and the jurisdiction of the Agiorite institutions were expressly described and ratified upon admission of Greece to the European Union (then the European Community).

Astypalaia

The church of Panagia Portaitissa in Chora of Astypalaia, snow white, with beautiful belfry, under the castle, is the trademark of Astypalaia. Every visitor considers it one of the most beautiful in Dodekanisa. Saint Anthimos around 750 ac founded it. Its unique church icon screen is sheathed with thin layers of gold. According to tradition the icon is impress from the icon of Moni Iviron from Mount Athos, when a special wood was placed over the icon.

Next to the church, there is a small ecclesiastical collection of old icons. This is where the greatest festivities for Virgin Ma­ry take place at first fortnight in August. The first night, at 14th August, start the festivities at the ch­urch precinct with vast participation from people and venders.

More information about Astypalaia: http://www.astypalaia.com/

Paros

Paros

The story that Paros of Parrhasia colonized the island with Arcadians is an etymological fiction of the type that abounds in Greek legend. Ancient names of the island are said to have been Plateia (or Pactia), Demetrias, Strongyli (meaning round, due to the round shape of the island), Hyria, Hyleessa, Minoa and Cabarnis.

The island later received from Athens a colony of Ionians under whom it attained a high degree of prosperity. It sent out colonies to Thasos and Parium on the Hellespont. In the former colony, which was planted in the 15th or 18th Olympiad, the poet Archilochus, a native of Paros, is said to have taken part. As late as 385 BC the Parians, in conjunction withDionysius of Syracuse, founded a colony on the Illyrian island of Pharos (Hvar).

Shortly before the Persian War, Paros seems to have been a dependency of Naxos. In the first Greco-Persian War (490 BC), Paros sided with the Persians and sent a trireme toMarathon to support them. In retaliation, the capital was besieged by an Athenian fleet under Miltiades, who demanded a fine of 100 talents. But the town offered a vigorous resistance, and the Athenians were obliged to sail away after a siege of 26 days, during which they had wasted the island. It was at a temple of Demeter Thesmophoros in Paros that Miltiades received the wound from which he died.By means of an inscription, Ross was able to identify the site of the temple; it lies, as Herodotus suggests, on a low hill beyond the boundary of the town.

In Parikia of Paros is the adornment of Panagia Ekatontapilianii, one of the greatest paleochristian monuments.

According to one tradition Santa Helena, mother of Saint Constantine, on her way to Jerusalem to find the rood had to moor in Parikia of Paros.

She found there a church dedicated to Virgin Mary’s Assumption, which according to older researchers is the chapel of Saint Nicolas

More information about Paros: http://www.parosweb.com/

Tinos

The Church of Panagia Megalochari in Tinos, Cyclades: The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Megalochari is not only the patron saint of Tinos, but it is also considered as the saint protector of Greece. The name (Megalochari) means “with all graces” and is one of the names given to describe Virgin Mary. The church is actually dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and is also the most popular pilgrimage in Greece.

Tinos has a varied landscape. From the shores of Panormos and Kolimbithra on the North Shore to Kionia, Agios Yannis O Portos, and Agios Sostis on the Southern Shore, Tinos has many beaches, just to name a few. Tsiknias is the highest mountain on the island at 750 meters and hides the quaint village of Livada. The mountain of Exobourgo is quite distinct, and unlike its more rounded Cycladic neighbors, has a more jagged appearance that would be more at home in the Alps. Between Tsiknias and Exobourgo lies the fruitful plain of Falatados. This area is unique on the island as its relatively flat (yet with an elevation of ~ 300 metres) terrain is rare on the island. This made it a strong candidate for an as yet unbuilt airport on the island. The Meltemi winds and valid concerns of local villagers of the towns of Falatados, and Steni have all but halted the project. The area around Volax is a surreal and very unusual landscape with giant boulders some the size of multistory buildings. The village of Volax lies at the center of this amazing landscape. To the west, the mountains surrounding Pyrgos are full of some of the most beautiful green marble in all of Greece.

More information about Tinos: http://www.tinos-tinos.com/

Sifnos

The numerous churches and monasteries of Sifnos are closely related to the history, the architectural tradition and the religious – social life of the island.

A solid proof of the religious tradition of the Sifnians is the number of churches and monasteries existing on the island. This number is the highest in comparison to any other island of the Cyclades, relative to the size of the island, and it is said that “…in Sifnos there are over 360 churches, one for every day of the year”.

Many of the churches and the monasteries of Sifnos are of high architectural and religious interest and they have been designated as historical monuments. The ecclesiastic committees and the “management committees” look to the maintenance of the churches and monasteries, even if they are situated in areas that are not accessible by vehicles, with remarkable reliability and by offering – in many cases – voluntary work.

Sifnos was very wealthy in ancient times, thanks to its gold and silver mines. Proof of this, is the treasury which the Siphnians built at Delphi in the 6th century BC to house their offerings. However, it appears that something went wrong with the mines; either they were worked out or flooded by the sea -we do not know which- and their production ceased. In ancient times, Siphnos’s wealth was measured by the gold and silver it produced, in the last two centuries it can be measured by its cultural output.

More information about Sifnos: http://www.sifnos.gr/

Folegandros

Folegandros Chora features many churches such as Agia Ekaterini, Theoskepasti, Agios Antonios, Agios Nikolaos (metropolis), Pantanassa, and Agia Eleousa, with its beautifully iconostasis and its marvellous post Byzantine icons of the Cretan School of painting.

On the hill slide, opposite “Paraporti”, is the great abbey of Panagia, offering unique view over land and sea. The stately snow-white church of Folegandros hosts great festivities on the first fortnight in August.

How to reach it:

Folegandros is a main stop on the ferry line Piraeus – Milos – Santorini, and it has also frequent ferries or hydrofoils to Paros, Mykonos, Ios and the near Sikinos. Consider also flying directly to Santorini and taking a ferry from there. Timetables are published very late. Online tickets, but it’s useless to check schedule much ahead of the trip.

Inland transportation:

The bus is the main transportation mean of Folegandros, to take you either to the port or to the various unpaved roads that lead to the beaches. Car and moto renters in the Chora. Also, to reach the various beaches little fishing boats depart daily form the port of Karavostasis.

More information about Folegandros: http://www.folegandros.com/island.asp

Amorgos

Amorgos

High in the cliffs of Amorgos stands a ma­sterpiece, the monastery of Panagia Xozoviotissa.

One feels owe just by looking at it. The mona­stery is located over the crags of Profitis Ilias, 300 meters above sea level, south from the ca­pital, Chora.

Many visitors wonder astonished, how could hu­man hands have built this masterpiece? No won­der, also, why was a panoramic view included in the movie “Big Blue”. The monastery stands out be­cause of the plain white exterior, great view to the Aegean Sea and beautifully peaceful and se­renely atmosphere.

There are several beaches along the coast line. In Aegiali, the beach is long and sandy, and starts from the edge of the fishing village Ormos. “Levroso”, “Psili Ammos” and “Hohlakas” are 15 min. walk from the port, and can also be reached by small boat on a regular schedule.

On the nearby small uninhabited island of Nikouria, there are two nice sandy beaches, where small boats cross people for swimming, from the bay of “Agios Pavlos”.

More information about Amorgos: http://www.amorgos.com/en/

Meteora

Meteora is a truly inspiring and sensational setting of overwhelming rock formations, but one must also be prepared to expect that this trip is much more than merely visiting an exquisite landscape. It is a pilgrimage to a holy place for all Christians around the world. Meteora has become a preservation ark for the 2000-year-old Christian Orthodox creed.

Meaning ‘suspended in air’ the name Meteora soon came to encompass the entire rock community of 24 monasteries. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders up to 40m long to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes. Each community developed its own resources and by the end of the 14th century, the Grand Meteoron emerged as the dominant community. Its wealth included landed estates, flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle.

The gigantic rocks of Meteora are perched above the town of Kalambaka, at a maximum height of 400 m (1200 ft). The most interesting summits are decorated with historical monasteries, included in the World Heritage List of Unesco. Only 6 of them have made it through the centuries, from an initial estimated number of 24. Mostly dating to the 14th and until the 16th century, these monasteries were built by monks who were previously hermits in the area, living in individual caves. Once united, these monks took months and years to carry the construction material to the top of rocks, using ropes, folding ladders, nets and baskets, and with much determination.

More information about Meteora: http://www.meteora-greece.com/

Meteora
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