March 26, 2012

Panagia Oxylithiotissa: A Church Perched Atop A Volcano

On March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, a unique church in Greece celebrates. Panagia Oxylithiotissa is probably the only church in Greece perched atop a volcano. From the slopes of this volcano, the Panagia overlooks the village of Oxilithos of Kymi Evia, as well as the sea.

The village Oxilithos got its name from the sharp stones which are found on the volcano of Oxilithos; Oxilithos means "sharp stone". 200 years ago pious villagers took these stones and lifted them to the top of the mountain to build this picturesque church dedicated to the Panagia. It's as if the Panagia embraces land and sea that stretches before her church.

Notable also is that St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite lived the ascetic life in a cave on this volcano for a short time. Also when St. Nektarios was a preacher in Evia, he came and liturgized in this church.