April 8, 2011

Synaxis of Panagia Theoskepasti in Andros

White and majestic is the Church of Panagia Theoskepasti* as it stands near the picturesque port of Andros. It's feast day is celebrated two weeks before Pascha on the day of the Akathist Hymn.

According to tradition, on a stormy night, the icon came from the sea towards the beach with a strange light coming from it. People on the island followed the light that led them to a small cave. Surprised, in the cave, on seaweed, they saw the icon of the Virgin Mary. They venerated it and brought it to the Chapel of St. Athanasios. The next day however the icon returned to the cave! Thus, the islanders decided to build a temple over the cave. Work on building the temple was rapid and the church was almost ready in no time. But the roof was missing because there was no wood. The Panagia helped in that.

There was a boat loaded with wood openly in danger in the sea off the island of Andros. The Captain along with the sailors prayed to the Panagia to save them from imminent danger. Enlightened, the skipper threw the timber into the sea, and so the ship was saved. The timber slowly came to shore near the cave, shipped to the builders in order to cover the church. Because the wood was unexpected and even on time, it was seen as being providential, thus the Church of the Panagia was named "Theoskepasti". It belongs to the Metropolis of Syros.

*“Theoskepasti” from the Greek words “Theos” and “skepazo” which mean “God” and “to veil” respectively. So, the name is "Veiled by God".

Official Site of Panagia Theoskepasti

The feast day of Panagia Theoskepasti in 2009

Pascha 2009 at Panagia Theoskepasti

Pascha 2010 at Panagia Theoskepasti