Panagia or Virgin Mary is one of the most popular figures of the Greek Orthodox Church. The most popular pilgrimages are dedicated to her: foremost the island of Tinos but also the Panagia Soumela in Northern Greece and the Ekatontapyliani in Paros. Many less famous Churches and chapels celebrate all over Greece and attract a great number of visitors.
The feast coincides with the annual holidays and there are fairs and events organized all over the country dedicated to Virgin Mary but also providing entertainment for the whole family.Virgin Mary’s dormition-often called the summer Easter – is preceded by two weeks of fasting so you can imagine that the celebration is accompanied by the inevitable meat feast. Especially on several Cycladic Islands the feast includes common dinner on a local speciality sponsored by a different family every year.
Panagia or Virgin Mary is also famous for performing miracles and curing all sorts of ailments. The custom is to “promise” a special offering in exchange for a miracle. For example a golden arm in exchange for the healing of a broken arm or a candle as high as the person you want cured!! The relative churches are so rich that they auction the offerings every now and then and use the money for philanthropic causes.