Panagia Fidiotissa in Kefalonia

Panagia Fidiotisssa

The most well-known church of Kefalonia is that of Panagia Fidiotissa.

Every year a phenomenon occurs in the small church in the vicinity of Markopoulos, on the south side of the island as during the period of 6 to the 15th of August, the area is filled with small snakes, friendly to people, with a characteristic soft skin, and the shape of a cross adorning their backs.

The snakes of the Virgin Mary are a unique event in the world, and if you find yourself on the island in August, you should not miss it. If you can’t make it for this event, the miraculous Icon of the Panagia Fidiotissa is also there all year round and also known for its miracles.

he Virgin Mary has many sobriquets. Here in Kefalonia where religion, after so many trials in the history of the island, has a special place in the lives of residents, the most famous is that of Panagia Fidiotissa. Every year a strange phenomenon occurs in the small church in the vicinity of Markopoulos, on the south side of the island: the period 6-15 August, the area is filled with small snakes, friendly to people, with a characteristic soft skin, and the shape of a cross adorning their backs. The snakes of the Virgin Mary are a unique event in the world, and if you find yourself on the island in August, you should not miss it. If you can’t make it for this event, the miraculous Icon of the Panagia Fidiotissa will reward you with the intriguing story of its salvation from a burning tree many years ago. - Copyright © wondergreece.gr ne of the most famous temples of Kefalonia, Virgin in Markopoulo accepts every year thousands of pilgrims and other “curious” guests. These are small karmless snakes having in their head four black dots in a shape of a cross! They appear between 6 and 16 August in the rocks behind the Frankish bell tower and crawl fearlessly between the world and in the church. The legend of the Virgin says it all started from a bush that was seen burning in Loggos. Approaching to extinguish the fire, they saw that only one tree was burnt and the icon of Virgin was in its roots. They brought it to the village church but the next day the icon was missing! They found it again in the same place and after this it happened quite a few more times and so they realized that it was a divine sign build the church of Virgin Lagouvarda to this point at the bottom of the ravin . Over the years a nunnery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary was created there. Again, according to legend, once pirates threatened the abbey. After the prayers of the monks , snakes encircled the monastery and repelled the threat! The miracle is repeated every year since then and this how the appearance of snakes is explained by the tradition. It is also considered bad sign the snakes not to appear a year something that happened according to legend in 1940 and 1953, the year of the devastating earthquakes in Kefalonia. At the Church of the Assumption in Cephalonia island, is hosted the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary "Fidiotissa" (Snakeholder). The name is due to a miracle which is repeated almost every year. From 6 August to 15 August in and out of the monastery appear many small snakes that have not been recorded in some species, known as snakes of Virgin Mary. The snakes multiply more and more until the eve of the Assumption and disappear immediately after the end of the feast. According to tradition, the villagers saw a burning tree at the place where the church stands today. When villagers reached the spot, they saw the tree completely burnt and an image of the Virgin untouched by the flames, resting on it. A monastery was built on the specific place hosting the miraculous image. The nuns who lived in it saw one day pirates who approached the monastery in order to loot it. They prayed to Virgin Mary and asked for help and protection. Then a miracle happened. The monastery was surrounded by hundreds of snakes from which the pirates were afraid and fled. During August you can see the snakes invading the monastery and wander among the faithful in the pews and shrines, the image of Virgin Mary and the Gospel. It is a remarkable fact that will surely impress you and a good reason to choose to spend the 15th of August at the island of Kefalonia.

The legend of the Virgin says it all started from a bush that was seen burning in Loggos. Approaching to extinguish the fire, they saw that only one tree was burnt and the icon of Virgin was in its roots. They brought it to the village church but the next day the icon was missing.

They found it again in the same place and after this, it happened quite a few more times and so they realised that it was a divine sign build the church of Virgin Lagouvarda.

Over the years a nunnery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary was created there.

Again, according to legend, once pirates threatened the abbey. After the prayers of the monks, snakes encircled the monastery and repelled the threat. The miracle is repeated every year since then and this is how the appearance of snakes is explained by the tradition. It is also considered a bad sign if the snakes do not appear, which is highlighted by the devastating earthquakes in Kefalonia in 1940 and 1953.

During August you can see the snakes making their way through the monastery and wandering among the faithful in the pews and shrines, the image of the Virgin Mary and the Gospel. It is a remarkable fact that and a good reason to choose to spend the 15th of August on the island of Kefalonia.

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