200th anniversary of wonderworking Panagia of Tinos Icon celebrated in Greece

200th anniversary of wonderworking Panagia of Tinos Icon celebrated in Greece

Tinos, Cyclades, Greece, January 30, 2023

Thousands of Greek Orthodox believers gathered at the Holy Church of the Evangelistria in Tinos last night and this morning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the miraculous Panagia of Tinos icon.

Photo: ekklisiaonline.gr

Metropolitan Dorotheos of Syros and Tinos began the festival yesterday with the celebration of Great Vespers, after which the icon was carried in procession. The vigil was celebrated later in the evening, reports Ekklisia Online.

This morning the Divine Liturgy of the Met was celebrated. Dorotheos and Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia, followed by another procession bearing the miraculous icon, Romfea reports.

Today is a double feast for the island of Tinos, which also celebrates the new calendar feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs – Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom.

That evening, the faithful gather again in the Church of the Evangelistria for the unique Tinian tradition of a torchlight procession. Each local has their own lantern, often made by children, which they hang on high wooden poles during the procession.

From the 2017 torchlight procession. Photo: mygreekheart.com


The Story of the Discovery of the Tinos Icon from the Site of the Orthodox Church in America:

This venerated icon of the Annunciation was discovered on January 30, 1823 in the ruins of the ancient Church of St. John the Baptist.

An elderly man, Michael Polyzoes, had a dream shortly before the Feast of the Annunciation in 1821 in which the Blessed Mother appeared to him in bright white robes. She instructed him to dig in the field of Anthony Doxaras outside of town where he would find her icon. She also told him to build a church on the site as there had once been one there. The Queen of Heaven also promised to help him in fulfilling these tasks.

When he woke up, he crossed himself and tried to go back to sleep, believing his dream was a temptation from the devil. Before falling asleep, Michael saw the Theotokos one more time and noticed that the room was flooded with a soft white light. Her head was surrounded by divine light, and her face showed indescribable grace and sweetness. To the old man she said, “Why are you afraid? Your fear comes from unbelief. Listen! I am Panagia (All Saints). I want you to dig in the field of Anthony Doxaras where my icon is buried. I’m asking you to do this as a favor, old man. You will build a church there and I will help you with it.” Then she disappeared.

The next morning Michael went to the village and told the priest what had happened to him that night. The priest also thought the dream was a temptation, so he urged Michael to come to confession and communion. However, the old man was not convinced that his visions were just dreams or demonic temptations. He told the villagers about his experience. Some laughed at him, but only two believed his words.

One night the two men went into the field with him and dug in many places, but they found nothing. Then they dug elsewhere and found the remains of an ancient wall. Finding nothing but bricks, they had to abandon their search in the morning lest the Turks find out what they were doing.

Anthony Doxaras, the owner of the field, found the bricks and attempted to build a kiln from them. The mortar didn’t stick to the bricks, so it broke down when they tried to build part of the kiln. The workers were convinced that God was showing them that the bricks from the old church were not to be used in a furnace.

Saint Pelagia (July 23), an eighty-year-old nun, had several dreams in June 1822 in which the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to her. Saint Pelagia lived in the Convent of the Dormition on Mount Kechrovounios, about an hour’s drive from the village. She had lived in the monastery from an early age and was known for her great virtue and piety.

The Theotokos appeared to her in a dream and ordered her to go to Stamatelos Kangades (a prominent man of the village) and tell him to uncover the Church of Saint John the Baptist on the territory of Anthony Doxaras.

Startled by the vision, Pelagia attributed the dream to her imagination and began to pray. She was afraid to tell anyone about her dream, but the following week the Theotokos appeared to her again and reminded her of her instructions. Despite this, the nun remained silent and did not tell anyone about her vision. The Theotokos appeared a third time, this time in a stern manner. She rebuked the nun for her disbelief, saying, “Go do as I have told you.” Be obedient.”

Saint Pelagia awoke in fear and trembling. When she opened her eyes, she saw the same mysterious woman she had seen in her sleep. With a great effort she asked, “Who are you, lady? Why are you angry with me and why are you commanding me to do these things?”

The woman raised her hand and said: “Proclaim, O earth, good tidings of great joy” (Megalynarion of the Ninth Ode of the Canon for the Matins of the Annunciation).

When the aged nun finally understood, she joyfully exclaimed: “Blessed, O heavens, the glory of God” (The next line of the Megalynarion).

She immediately informed the abbess of her visions, and she also told Stamatelos Kangades. Lord Kangades, who had been commissioned by the Theotokos to excavate the church, informed Bishop Gabriel of these events. The bishop had already heard of Michael Polyzoes’ dream and realized that the nun Pelagia’s account matched his vision. Bishop Gabriel wrote to all the churches on the island of Tinos, urging them to cooperate in finding the church and the icon.

Excavations began in September 1822 under the direction of Mr. Kangades. The foundations of the Church of Saint John, destroyed by Arabs in 1200, have been uncovered. An ancient well was found near the church, but not the holy icon. The money ran out, so the effort was abandoned.

Once again Our Lady appeared to Saint Pelagia and urged that the excavations continue. Bishop Gabriel called for donations to build a new church on the foundations of the old church of St. John the Baptist. The new church was built and dedicated to St. John and the life-giving fountain.

On January 30, 1823, workers leveled the floor inside the church to lay a new stone floor. Around noon, one of the workers, Emmanuel Matsos, struck a piece of wood with his pickaxe and split it in half. He looked at a piece of the board and saw that it was burned on one side while the other side showed traces of paint. When he wiped away the dirt with his hand, he saw that it was an icon. He put the two pieces of wood together, crossed himself and worshiped the icon.

He called the other workers, who also came and worshiped the icon. When the icon was cleaned it was found to be an icon of the Annunciation. The split was in the center of the icon, between Theotokos and the Archangel Gabriel. No figure was damaged, which was considered a miracle.

On the same day, the icon was presented to Bishop Gabriel, who kissed it and exclaimed: “Great art thou, O Lord, and marvelous are thy works.”

After finding the icon, the people of Tinos were eager to build a magnificent church dedicated to the Theotokos. People offered their money and their own labor to help build the Church of Evangelistria (She Who Received the Good News).

The new church was completed in 1823 and consecrated by Bishop Gabriel. Saint Pelagia of Tinos fell asleep in the Lord on April 28, 1834. However, her feast day is on July 23rd.

The Tinos icon of the Most Holy Theotokos continues to be venerated as one of the most sacred treasures in Greece. Countless miracles of healing and deliverance from danger have not stopped since the icon was found.

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe and Gab!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *