In the village of Kastania, located in Southwestern Macedonia, lies the monastery of Panagia Soumela. The name was derived from Mount Melas, a place in Pontos, Asia Minor, near the Black Sea Region. This is one of the 500 names of our Mother Virgin Mary, whose “kimisis” or falling asleep we celebrate today.
Greek Orthodox Christians near and far call this day “Dekapentavgousto”, or “The Easter of Summer”. The relationship the Greeks have with the Virgin Mother “Theotokos” is certainly sacred, honorable and respectful, being that she is our mother who represents all mothers in the world.
In many corners of Greece lie majestic monasteries, chapels, and churches dedicated to our Mother. Each of these places have a unique name given in honor of “Panagia” and a story is told behind the naming of the place, the iconography associated with the “Theotokos”, and even of miraculous events that happen because of Her blessings and guidance.
The geographical location of Panagia Kykkos, in Cyprus, a sovereign monastery dedicated to the Virgin is one close to my heart. The name “Kykkos” means short in Turkish and Panagia is given that label by the Orthodox Christians who believed in her shelter for their country that has undergone so much pain and suffering.
The icon of Panagia Glykofylousa is one that illustrates Christ leaning on his Mother’s cheek for a “sweet kiss”, in which the given name stands for, harboring love and tenderness between a mother and her child.
One of the ultimate life-changing and miraculous stories of Panagia Evangelistria, located on the island of Tinos. A place where believers crawl on their knees to the church in order to make a “tama”, which is a wish, for Panagia to grant them or their loved ones health because they suffer from sickness and distress.
Lastly, Panagia Fidousa or Fidiotissa, which is located in the village of Markopoulos on the breathtaking island of Kefalonia. It is known that around the day of the assumption of the Virgin, small snakes circulate the icons of the churches in the village. A remarkable event associated with a miracle from our Mother Panagia.
Let “Panagia” bless our hearts, and spread love and happiness in our homes today. “Hronia Polla” to everyone!
More than 500 names for Panagia found in Greece and Cyprus. Here are some examples: Panagia Galaktotrofousa, Panagia Portaitissa, Panagia Thalassomachousa, Panagia Machairiotissa, Panagia Mavromata, Panagia Faneromeni, Panagia Chrisopygi, Panagia Psychosotria, Panagia Dexia.