Photographer's Note

One of my first photos using my husband's new brand Nikon D70.

This is the entrace of the holy monastery of Agia Pelagia at Tinos island, Cyclades.

Some infos about Agia Pelagia and the Church of the Panagia, or Church of the Megalochari.

Tinos is the very special Aegean island where thousands and thousands of devout pilgrims make their way every summer to pay homage in a large, celebrated gathering called, The Assumption of the Virgin. On the 15th of August, a virtual army of believers descend upon this small, rocky Cycladic isle to receive blessings, make solemn promises or give personal offerings to the Icon of Virgin Mary.

From the harbor of Tinos, a wide cobbled street leads up to a mound on which the magnificent chruch called, the Church of the Panagia, or Church of the Megalochari. Here, perched on the top, the stately chuch sit imposingly, towering above the whole town and harbour. Built out of marble from quarries at Tinos and Paros, this is the very spot where the miraculous icon of the Panagia (Virgin Mary) was discovered hundreds of years ago. The miracle-working of the Holy Icon of the Annunciation of Tinos has been known all over the world. Thousands of Christians who come from every part of the world to feel its miraculous influence and help them in the difficult moments of their lives. The impressive church of Megalohari itself, was built after an event in 1822, when a Sister by the name of Pelagia, who was a nun at Moni Kechrovouniou had a vision of Virgin Mary that revealed to her where an icon depicting Mary and an Archangel was to be found. Early the next year, the icon was finally discovered close to the ruins of a byzantine church which had been apparently buried in an underground vault for nearly 850 years. The actual crypt where the icon was found, is now called the Chapel of Evresis (Chapel of discovery). After this, Sister Pelagia herself was canonized and is now called, Agia Pelagia.

Since the discovery of the icon, the sacred Church of the Megalochari has been internationally recognized as a place of pilgrimage, and also known as a philanthropic organization. During the actual ceremonies, the spiritual emotion and the mystical atmosphere is apparent among the masses of believers when the Great Feast of the Virgin takes place. For believers, it is a moving experience to take part in the gathering of the faithful. Even those who are not Christian and know very little about the workings of the actual Holy Icon find themselves touched by the events. From this experience, many foreigners who visit the island leave with fond memories of the Church of the Holy Virgin, which like a divine crown, adorns and watches over the town.

> Infos taken from site

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Additional Photos by Maria Mantoukas (Maritsa) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 423 W: 12 N: 94] (358)
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