Undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations of the Cyclades is the island of Tinos. The captivating force which lures its visitors, who inundate the island throughout the whole year and specifically at the height of the tourist season, notably Easter and the Orthodox pilgrimage on the 15th of August, is indisputably the Holy church of Evangelistrias.
The visitor, who solely perceives Tinos as a destination for holy adjuration, may run the risk of never becoming acquainted with its hidden treasures – distinctively its picturesque villages, its unique architectural style, its beaches and its customs, traditions and culture that flourish throughout the island.
This small island with its multitude of churches and dovecotes is very attractive, and is a major pilgrim destination. Pilgrims come here to the Church of Annunciation . With many fine beaches and restaurants, the island is welcoming for the traveller.
Hora ( Tinos ) is the main port and capital of the island. Hora is a busy town with hotels and cafes catering for both tourist and pilgrims. The shops in the narrow streets behind the waterfront sell a wide range of religious items for the pilgrims.
The Church of the Annunciation situated on the main street that leads from the ferry terminal, this church built in the 1830s in the Neo-Classical style is impressive. Along the edge of road leading to the church, is a rubber causeway set in to the asphalt. This is for the pilgrims who crawl towards the church on their hands and knees, pushing a lighted candle before them. In 1822, a nun called Sister Pelagia had a vision from the Virgin Mary. On the nuns directions excavations revealed the icon of Annunciation of Archangel Gabriel. The icon was undamaged despite being in the ground for about 850 years, the icon also called the Megalochari (Great Joy). The icon reputed to have healing powers, and pilgrims come from all over Greece to pray in the church. In the church, the icon covered with gold, silver and jewels given by pilgrims whose prayers have been answered, that it is hard to see the painting. In the church precincts are museums displaying religious artefacts.
Kionia north of the town is the ancient site of the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite. Moni Kechrovouniou is one of the largest convents in Greece , here you can see the cell where Sister Pelagia had her vision, and the chest where her embalmed head is stored.
Exompourgko this great rock that is 640m high was the site of the ancient city of Tinos , and later the Ventian fortress now in ruins. In the area are several unspoiled villages, the walled village of Volax is noted for its basket weaving, and it makes a ideal stop for refreshments during the exploration of the island.
Pyrgos to the north of the island is famous for its sculpture school, where they carve the green marble the area is renowned for, in the village there are a couple of museums.
Easter time in Tinos
Good Friday in Tinos:
Every year, on Good Friday, all the churches in Chora, after following their own procession, assemble the Epitaphs at the harbour, by a grand platform. After the announcements and words of faith and praise by the priests, and the entertainment by the town brass band, the followers accompany the Epitaphs back to the churches.
In particular, the Epitaph representing the St. Nicholas Church makes its way towards the beach Vathy Kladaki [located a little further out from the harbour], where it is placed into the water, together with the priest who psalms divinities for the navy.
With regard to the wooden carved Epitaph belonging to the Church Panagia, which is the most majestic of all the Epitaphs, it continues in the direction of the steep road back to the church. Firstly it conducts the holy rites in the cemetery, and then returns to the church, where it is raised high above the entrance, so that all the devotees may pay their respects, and pass under it.
Easter Saturday in Tinos:
In the morning, during the church service ceremony when the priest psalms the phrase Let God Rise, a basket full of lemon tree leaves is passed around, the leaves to be kept in ones pocket, or purse, as a symbol of good luck.
During the evening, after the resurrection, tradition states that dyed red eggs are shared amongst the devotees in the enclosure of the church Panagia.
Easter Sunday in Tinos:
On Easter Sunday, after the lunchtime feast, the church service ceremony commemorating the resurrection is held at the Church of Evangelistrias in Chora. The resurrection processions from all the churches gather there for the afternoon service, dedicated to love, where one can hear the psalms of the gospel in all languages.
They then proceed through the streets of Chora, where they eventually arrive at the harbour and the platform. After the psalmody, each church procession returns to their parish
Every year, during Easter Monday, and after the church service, the icon of the resurrection is paraded throughout the whole village. At noon, the church bells invite not only the locals, but the visitors as well, by the Holy church where the so called Open or Public Table is held. Here the women prepare beef soup, roast beef and an assortment of appetizers. As soon as the food is served to everyone, the priests proclaim three times, Christ has risen and the feast commences.
After the feast, there is psalmody and speeches made from the village priest and then commemorative prayers for all the priests who have held parish there, and for the souls of those who have passed away.
After the holy divinity is completed, the church tray is distributed for collection, where all of the participants contribute for the sustenance of this custom.
AREA CODE: 22830
- Police: 22830-22255
- First Aid Centre: 22830-22210
- Tourist Information Centre:22830-25888
- Port Authorities: 22830-22348
- Bus Terminal: 22830-22440
- Taxi Service: 22830-22470