Undoubtedly, Tinos is known for its churches, especially for the famous Panagia of Tinos. Did you know that nearly every single family on Tinos has its own chapel?
The family chapels of the Tinians are all white, most of them located all over the countryside, within the family plot, even on mountain tops and precipitous cliffs, beaches, plains and dingles. There are chapels wherever you can possibly imagine.
Churches in Tinos
Just few metres (yards) away from the Aeolis Tinos Residences, at Triantaros, is the Church of the Holy Apostles (Agioi Apostoloi), built in 1861. It has been erected on the very spot where the old church of Mother Mary once stood. The carved wooden interiors, the marble altar and murals are worthy specimens of Tinos art.
At the Aeolis Estate, there are two chapels: Virgin Mary and Saint Elftherios. The marble altar in one of them is an art piece of the local sculptor Kyrarinis.
In Chora and the villages of Tinos, there are cathedrals, parish churches and chapels. The Catholic churches’ sanctuaries face to the West while the sanctuaries of the Orthodox churches face to the East, towards the source of the “Light of the world.” The most striking feature of the cathedrals is their bell towers of different periods and styles, built separately from the temple. This is how the landmark of Tinos, the bell tower of the Temple of our Holiest Mother (Panagia), is built. Rising majestically on the side of the Temple, at a height of 30 metres, is the first striking feature to welcome you upon your arrival at the port. The bell tower of the Kechrovouni Monastery follows the same architectural tradition.
Panagia of Tinos
Of course, the renowned Panagia of Tinos cannot be excluded, the majestic temple built in 1880 with its magnificent bell tower overlooking the Chora. The temple was raised at the very spot where the miraculous icon of Panagia (The Virgin Mary) was found, furthermore, it was the visions of the noble nun Saint Pelagia that led to its findings. This church is one of the top religious’ destinations in Greece where thousands of Christians gather here every August 15th.
On such days, the right side of the uphill paved road, which starts from the port and leads to the Panagia, is laid out with a red carpet for the pilgrim travelers who wish to pay homage to the sacred icon and offer their ‘tama’ (oblation) by crawling up the hill on their knees.
This involves people of all ages and sexes. Throughout the day, you come across people bent over, on their injured knees, but with infinite stubbornness and strong faith, on all fours and with few short stops, determined to fulfill one purpose: to ascent and then enter the Panagia Temple of Tinos, the Church of Our Lady, kneeled.
Arriving at the temple, we find that it is a whole complex of structures that consist of the main church of the Virgin Mary, chapels, museums, permanent exhibition halls, the mausoleum of the torpedoing of Hellenic Navy’s cruiser ‘Elli’, and offices.
The miraculous icon of Panagia on Tinos dates back to the 7th century. So many are the gold and silver oblations (‘tamata’) on it, therefore, making it impossible for the viewer to distinguish the original painting. For this reason, there is a copy of the Icon created in 1850 that can be seen in the Vestry before you ascend to the main temple.
Monastery of Our Lady of Angels
The Monastery of Our Lady of Angels at a 600 metre (yard) altitude on Kehrovouni mountain, is said to have been built between the 11th-12th centuries. According to local tradition, three sisters from Tripotamos village saw the same vision; a woman (Mother Mary) suggested they build a monastery at a specific point and live there as nuns.
The three sisters decided to build their cells just below the indicated spot inasmuch as that particular spot was beaten by strong winds. However, each morning they would find what they had built the previous day demolished. Finally they were convinced and obeyed the Virgin Mary's directions to build the cells on the very windswept spot where you can visit the Monastery today.