April 8, 2011

Synaxis of Panagia Platsanis in Oia of Santorini

The newer Church of Panagia Platsani

The Church of Panagia Platsani is dedicated to the Akathist Hymn of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Originally the Church of Panagia Platsani was built on the edge of the village inside the castle, where today all visitors of the island gather daily to enjoy the amazing sunsets of Oia. With the devastating earthquake however of 9 July 1956 the church was destroyed, and because the soil there is not stable, the church was rebuilt in the village center.

Tradition says that the icon of the Virgin found in the temple was found in the sea. A fisherman was fishing at the time and saw in the middle of the sea something like a light from a vigil lamp. Going near he saw the icon of the Virgin Mary, but as he approached it would distance itself. Then he called the priests and the villagers who, with prayers and supplications, with incense and candles, went to the shore and with great devotion brought the icon to the church. The next day when he went to light the candles, the priest did not find the newly-revealed icon. After several hours of searching he found the icon on the walls of the castle from where he moved it back to the church. But again the next day the inhabitants found the icon in the same spot of the castle. They brought the icon back to church, yet the same thing happened again and again, so often that the residents decided to all contribute to build the church in the same place where the Virgin Mary had chosen. Here she could watch the sea from where she came and bless the sailboats that embarked on long journey's. The name "Platsani" comes from the words "plats, plats" which in Greek is equivalent to "splash, splash", which was the sound the icon made in the water of the beach upon its discovery.

All the sacred vessels in the church are pious tributes of residents of Oia, mostly sailors, in order to protect them in their travels. Most of them come from Orthodox Russians, who would bring to Russia the famous wine of Santorini. The temple is carved. The inscription has the year 1820 as its founding, but it is likely this is the chronology of the gold-plating, because the construction of the church is placed by experts long before. The painting of the church was done in three different stages.

The older church of Panagia Platsani

Panagia Platsani sunset

Panagia Platsani Oia Santorini by tournewsgr