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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Panagia tou Charou

It is located on the hillside southeast of Leipsoi capital. It took its name after its protecting icon that presents a very rare hagiographic motif instead of the classical one of Vrefokratousa (Panagia holding Jesus).  In this presentation, Panagia does not hold the Holy Child on her left hand but the Crucified Jesus in miniature. The icon is painted in a style that refers to the Russian school of the 19th century. It is said that it was brought from Kollyvades monks expelled from Mount Athos. The temple is built according to the cross-shaped type of church, with a blind (without drum) dome. It was built by monks sent to Leipsoi for this purpose by the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos of Patmos in early 1600. It is worth noted that since 1089, with a chrysobull of the emperor Alexios Komninos, Leipsoi have belonged to the jurisdiction of the church of Agios Ioannis of Patmos as its own exclusive pasture and cropland.

Today the temple is triune. Behind the wooden iconostasis there are three sanctuaries and three altar stones. The north one is dedicated to Agios Antonios, the central one to Theotokos and the southern one to Agios Charalampos. Take a look at the antiquities saved in the temple’s yard: It is two fluted columns and a grayish marble frame with panels from an earlier pagan shrine.

The church is celebrated at Enniamera tis Theotokou (Novena of the Virgin) on 23rd August, where there is a great feast with the participation of the whole municipality.  

 

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From 1943 until today, a remarkable event takes place here. In spring, the worshippers gather lilies and place them in vases in front of the icon of Panagia. In August, a few days before the great feast, the dried flowers begin to bud again, thus raising relevant connotations about the endless circle of life.  

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