June 30, 2013

Panagia Megalomata in Skiathos

Panagia Megalomata (Feast Day - Sunday That Falls Between June 24-30)

The Church of the Panagia was built between the 16th and 17th century, from which has survived the icon of Panagia Megalomata (Large-eyed) which was housed therein. This church is described in Alexandros Papadiamantis' short story "The Impact". It traditionally celebrated its feast day on the Saturday of the Akathist Hymn.

Unfortunately this church had the fate of the other forty chapels of the Castle. When the fortress was abandoned in 1830 and the Skiathians returned to the old Byzantine township which is today the town of Skiathos, the chapel collapsed and turned to ruins. An exception to the fate of these chapels are the four parish churches which have been sustained till our day.

In the winter of 2010 the church was cleaned of its silt. In this work was revealed the surviving floor of the chapel, the entrance, the delineation of the altar area, and traces of wall plaster. Small items were also found.

Following this discovery many Skiathians came to the Castle in 2011 and held an all-night vigil outside, which was also done a few years prior at the other ruined chapel of the Castle known as Panagia of Prekla, whose feast is celebrated on the Dormition of the Theotokos, and whose ruins were discovered at that time.

In this way was established the annual Vigil that is celebrated on the last Sunday of June, which also gives people an opportunity to visit the Castle. From April to August there is at least one chapel at the Castle celebrated per month.

The Vigil begins with the Matins of the Akathist Hymn, to commemorate the fact that its original feast day was on the Saturday of the Akathist Hymn which falls during Great Lent.

The holy icon of Panagia Megalomata is currently housed in the Cathedral Church of the Three Hierarchs in Skiathos.