Lesvos is coloured with churches, monasteries and pilgrimages, all with their own history…
Their fame has reached far and wide and people from all corners of the globe have set off on a pilgrimage to the island.
The most well-known pilgrimages to Lesvos are:
The pilgrimage to the Holy Mother of Agiasso, one of the most important pilgrimages in Greece. Created by St. Luke with mastic and wax, the icon of the Holy Mother with Child (Vreffokratousa), was transported from Jerusalem by the monk, Agathona of Efesso, in 803 AD.
Following repeated appearances in dreams by St. Raphael, he simultaneously revealed to the faithful the history of his martyrdom and thus “revealed” the hidden history of the Monastery of Karyon, located amongst the olive groves of Thermi. His bones were found at the site that he indicated, as were the bones of Deacon Nikolaos and little Irini who became martyrs alongside him at the hands of the Turks in 1463.
Today the monastery that has been reconstructed in memory of the Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nikolaos and Irini, has developed into a large-scale monastic community.
The Archangel is considered the island’s protector, but the fame of his miracles has spread to the whole world, amassing hoards of followers. The form of Archangel Michael in his embossed icon appears shadowed, but the love of the Archangel for all people is diffused throughout the whole Church, filling the hearts of believers with heavenly joy. Tradition has preserved the story of the old monastery, which was plundered by Saracen pirates towards the end of the first millennium. All the monks were slaughtered, except for the novice Gabriel, who escaped through miracle of the Archangel. Gabriel gathered the blood of his slaughtered companions and mixing it with clay, sculpted the form of the Commandor of the Order of Angels.
Anyone travelling to the island must visit the wonderful monasteries of Ipsillo and Limonos, which include museums housing rare historical and religious artefacts.
Also noteworthy, are the monasteries of Myrsiniotissas, Perivolis and Pytharrio located in the regions of Kallonis, Antissa and Eressos, respectively.
Finally, it is worthwhile for any traveller to visit the wonderful churches of St. Theraponta and St. Athanassios of Mytilini, which are small wonders in architecture.