It’s the second biggest religious celebration in Greece after the Resurrection of Christ and on the Greek Island of Tinos, the Feast of the Dormition— or the passing of the Virgin Mary from earthly life— of the Virgin Mary takes on an extra meaning.
August 15th is Greece’s “summer Pascha.”
The church of The Evangelistria on Tinos was built in 1823 to house an icon that was found in 1822, and is now the attraction for thousands of Greek Orthodox believers convinced their pleas for a miracle will be answered by the Virgin Mary.
The town has taken extra care adding road dividers and a bit of padding on the concrete to protect the pilgrims who make the ascent from the port.
Pregnancy and illness are the biggest reasons for a pilgrimage. Women will crawl on gloved hands and padded knees in the firm belief they will conceive or a loved one they have dedicated will get better after this important passage.
The icon is widely believed to be the source of numerous miracles. It is by now almost completely encased in silver, gold, and jewels.
The Church of Panagia on Tinos is perhaps the most respected and most important religious monument in Greece.
Festivities and pilgrimages have been going on for a long time. This rare footage from the British Pathe Agency show a lively preparation and celebration, as well as worshippers and pilgrims from 1947.
The commemoration has a unique national heritage associated with it, dating back to Greece’s entry in World War II when on August 15, 1940— a few months before Greece’s epic “no” to the Italians, the Greek warship Elli was sunk by an Italian torpedo off Tinos’ coast.
As a result of this connection, the celebration is marked by a military parade with members of Greece’s clergy and navy coming together to honor the icon.