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September 4, 2019

The Veneration of Saint Hermione on the Island of Chios

The icon of St. Hermione at Thymiana, Chios

Saint Hermione was one of the four daughters of the Apostle Philip who had the gift of prophecy, and was famous in the early apostolic Church. She died in Ephesus where she operated the first Christian hospital and was buried with honors there by Christians. Soon after her death her tomb became a source of many miracles, especially through the healing myrrh that exuded from her tomb.

Church of St. Hermione in Thymiana of Chios built over the original near the sea.

During the persecution of Emperor Decius (249-251), Saint Myrope of Chios took some of the healing myrrh from the tomb of Saint Hermione and fled Ephesus for the island of Chios. According to local tradition, Saint Myrope also brought to Chios an icon of Saint Hermione. According to one tradition, when she disembarked off the ship holding the myrrh of Saint Hermione, holy water began to gush forth. Another tradition says that when she hid the icon of Saint Hermione behind a rock, holy water began to gush forth from there. Whichever tradition is correct, Saint Hermione became associated with the holy water, and a church was constructed at that spot dedicated to Saint Hermione, the first church ever dedicated to her, located in the village of Thymiana. This is how Saint Hermione became one of the most honored Saints on the island of Chios, much beloved by the people.

Church of St. Hermione in Mesta of Chios.

During the time of the Turkish occupation, the original church of Saint Hermione was in ruins. With permission from the Sultan, a new church was built over the ruins of the original, with the assistance of Ioannis Sekerianos and Emmanuel Kritikopoulos. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in this new church on December 16, 1754. Every year since then a great festival is celebrated in honor of the Saint on her feast day which is September 4th. During the German occupation in the 1940's, the holy water ceased to flow, until it started again in 2008.

Church of St. Hermione in Emporeios of Chios

Saint Hermione became so loved by the people of Chios, that her veneration spread everywhere, to the extent that seven more churches were dedicated to her on the island. These can be found in Kapela, Katarraktes, Kalamoti, Mesta, Emporeios and there are two in Pyrgi.