Sunday, 20 November 2016

The day of the Panagia ...

This morning the church bells at Tries Hieraches will be ringing ...

The icon ...
Today its Panagia Kounistra, the islands festival day when the townsfolk return the miraculous icon, to the monastery at Kounistra, in a pilgramage across the hills on the old paths. The icon which was found in a tree, where the monastery at Kounistria, was built, is going home ...

Most of the village will be walking just after noon, heading up to Acropolis, carrying torches and picnic baskets. Young and Old alike, many of the old ladies will be barefoot. They will be met at Acropolis by men with guns who serenade with a volley of gunfire as the icon and the villagers pass by below. Then climbing up on the old paths to Katsarou, then over the hills, visiting shrines and finally up to Kounistra.

Once at Kounistra there will be a service and the villagers will rest and take Coffee, Tsipouro or make the return to town on the special buses, laid on for the event. Many will stay overnight with the Icon, then return in the morning over the hills to Tries Hieraches at first light.

The Skiathos Calendar by Betsy Barnard mentions ... 

21st Panayia Kounistra (The presentation of the mother of god in the temple, 
i.e. when she was taken to serve in the temple as a child aged about 12) 
On the morning of the 20th the miraculous icon is brought up to the top 
church and taken out of the town about 2.30. The bells ring in town at about 
1.00. People follow on foot on the old road to Kounistra. At the monastery 
of Kounistra an evening service, all night vigil, bonfires food, much 
feasting. Buses run to the monastery all evening. 
Early next morning, about 5am the icon is taken back along the old road to 
town, people following on foot. To Ayia Triada about 8am, down the old paved 
road to the Kalo Pigadi and along the main road to the Tries Hieraches. 
Service 9 - 10.30 ... 

This event is one of the 'must do' events for any true Skiathos Lovers ...


  1. What route do they take - is it somewhere near the Paradise Hotel then over past the municipal dump, or round the long way along the north coast?

  2. Hi Steve
    Bus stop 4> towards Bus stop 5> then right fork opposite Tomato hotel, up steep road past Hotel Villa Yannis. Then goat path cobbled path up to Agios Antonios. Past Hotel Paradise then turn right and follow the red path up past the Municipal site, and down to Kounistria ...
    Photos of my 2011 wander see -

  3. Ian - I copied & pasted the link, but it came up as private. Would love to see this festival - I read that the icon is reputed to have healing powers for brain tumours & other diseases of the brain.

    1. Hi Kate

      Try the link again - should be OK

  4. Unfortunately, Ian, the album is marked "Private".

    1. Hi Dennis

      Try the link again - should be OK