The passing of the Holy Virgin is celebrated in different regions of Greece and in many other countries where there is a Greek presence . The Holy Virgin Maria (Panagia) is considered the most holy person of Orthodoxy and her passing is called “The Easter of the Summer”.
On Tinos, Mount Athos, and throughout Greece a large group of followers gather at churches and to the processions of the icon of “Megalohari”, or great grace.
Many names are given to the Virgin Mary depending on the place where the icons were found. Some of these names are: “Soumela”, “Melikarou”, “Fodeliotissa”, “Thalassini”, “Anemi”, etc. There are over one thousand names and many traditions and legends.
Many Christians go to the island of Tinos in the summer to visit the church of “Megalohari” (of great grace). Many of the followers travel from the port to the church on their knees.
In Vermion near the village of Kastania, there is the center of the Pontian Greeks at The Monastery of “Panagia Soumela”. According to tradition, the Evangelist Loucas carved the icon of the Virgin Maria on wood. In the 4th century monks Varnavas and Sofronios, founded in Trapezounta, Turkey the monastery “Panagia Soumela”. After the exchange of populations, the Turkish government gave the holy heirlooms to the Greek government after the actions of the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos in 1931. In 1952 the Greek history of the icon began in the region of Vermio, where the association “Panagia Soumela” in Thessaloniki started the construction of a Monastery near the village of Kastania. By then many Christians travel to the Monastery annualy to visit the icon of the Virgin Maria ‘Soumela’.
The garden of Holy Virgin Mary
“The garden of Holy Virgin Mary” is the name given to Mount Athos. According to tradition the Virgin Mary stopped to Mount Athos with John the Evangelist during their trip to Cyprus due to a tempest. She was excited by the beautiful landscape and she ask her son to gift her the place.
“Panagia Kosmosotira” (savior of the world)
In the southeast of Evros in Ferres, there is the church of Panagia Kosmosotira (the Holy Virgin, Saver of the world). It was built in 1151-52 by Isaakios Komninos son of emperor Alexios Komninos.
Built in Paggeon, Drama the monastery was founded by Saint Germanos in 518 A.C. Currently outside the monastery there is now a church of the Dormition of the Holy Virgin, the cells of the monks, the priory, the hospice, a chapel of Saint Paraskevi and a museum.
The “Easter of the summer” in Grevena
Every summer in the region of Grevena, thousands of immigrants visit the villages and meet their relatives. The center of celebrations is the village of Samarina where thousands of Christians visit “Megali Panagia”.
In Paros there is “Panagia Ekatontapiliani”; one of the greatest byzantine monuments in Greece. The 15th of August holds many areevents, dances and fireworks.
On other islands such as in Corfu, Patmos and Ikaria, Christians attend funeral processions for the Holy Virgin.
In Dodecanese, the most known name is “Kavouriani” i.e. “of crabs”, because a fisherman found the icon while he was searching for crabs.
On Lipsi island there is “Panagia tou Harou” i.e. “of death”. This icon is unique because it is the only one that shows the Virgin Maria to hold the crucifix instead of the child. Since 1942 the icon is adorned with the “lilies of the Virgin Maria”.
“Panagia Spiliani” i.e. “of the cave”
Nisiros island holds the “Panagia Spiliani” i.e. “of the cave”. The name originates from the cave in which there i icon since 1600 A.C.
On Patmos there is “Panagia Diasozousa” i.e. “the Saver”, the church of the Virgin Mary Apolou, Kampos, the monastery of the Virgin Mary in Livadi, the Koumana in Skala and many more destinations for the Virgin Mary.
On the island of Kalimnos there is the “Panagia of Tsoukhouon”, “Kirapsili”, “Arginonton”, “Telendou”, “Pserimou” and “Vothinon.
In Astipalea,there is the name “Portaitissa”. There is also the monastery of the Virgin Mary Vlefariotissa and the monastery of the Poulariani,.
The church of “Panagia Gorgoipikoos” is on the island of Cos and was built in the 15th century.
In Asklipio, Rhodes, there is the Church of the Dormition of the Holy Virgin built in the 11th century. There is also a church of the Dormition in Messanagro built the 13th century. Near this region there is also “Panagia Plimiriani”, a small monastery of the 17th century. In the valley of butterflies there is “Panagia Kalopetra” established in 1489. In Lindos there is the church of the Holy Virgin originating in 15th century. In Skiadi there is Panagia Skiadeni, where an ancient temple of Artemis used to lie.
In Agiassos, Lesvos an icon of the Holy Virgin with the name “Agia Sion” was located.
The monastery of the Holy Virgin in Proussos, Evritania is dedicated to the dormition of the Virgin Mary.It originates from Proussa, Asia Minor. Is is known to be made by Evangelist Loucas.