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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Churches in Chora

Amounting to 22 most of them follow the style of a domed basilica. They are mainly family churches and are adorned with works by Michael Damascene and Ioannis Skordilis of the 17th century. Many of them have been classified as Preserved as Historical Monuments mainly of the Byzantine period. Except for Panagia Gremiotissa, there is Agios Ioannis Prodromos, Agia Aikaterini, Agios Nikolaos tou Lazarou, Panagia Hrisopigi, Evangelismos, Agios Nikolaos-Agia Varvara, Agios Georgios, Timios Stavros, Panagia Faneromeni etc.   FRAGOKLISIA Close to the Elementary school of Chora, there is the only Catholic church on the island which is deserted nowadays. It was built in the late 14th century and belonged to the Diocese of Thera until 1887.    Info  Agios Georgios and Agia Irnini at the port of Ios have also been classified as Preserved as Historical Monuments   Agia Theodoti As in other Cycladic islands, it is said that Ios has 365 churches, like the days of the year. The oldest one is that of Agia Theodoti, in the northeastern part of the island near the bay which has its name. It was founded in the 16th century and is built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Apollo. Just opposite the church there are traces of a Hellenistic tower and an ancient aqueduct.             
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The monastery of Pyrgos

It is also called monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos and it is located at the highest point of the island offering a unique view. On the eve of the saint’s celebration, on June 24, the customs of Klidonas and Fotara are performed here. The religionists set big fires, exchange teases with satirical couplets, dance and have fun.    
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The monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos

It is located in a place which looks like an oasis among the arid landscape of Ios. The monastery celebrates twice. On May 24 the “small festival” takes place and on August 29 the big one.
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Panagia Gremiotissa

Built on a conspicuous place, visible from all the cardinal points, the church is dedicated to Virgin Mary (‘Panagia’). The locals called it Panagia Gremiotissa and the legend has it that the miraculous icon travelled on a raft, with a lit vigil light always next to it, which was not blown out by either the winds or the waves, leading the religionists from the Turkish-ruled Crete to the coasts of Ios. Another local tradition wants the icon of Virgin Mary with Christ to be found in the bay of Mylopotas, in the rocks, lit by a vigil light. The residents moved it to the church of Timios Stavros. Miraculously, however, each night the icon was transferred in the place you see it today –and this is how the new church was built in honor of Virgin Mary. Going uphill to the yard of Gremiotissa and further above, to the three chapels that there are on the way to the highest peak of the rock (Agios Nikolaos, Agios Ioannis, Agios Eleftherios), you will understand why the islanders believe that they are constantly under the roof of Virgin Mary.
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