Before the revolution in 1821 was a Monastery the place which has been the home of many ill people- not only Chian. These people believed in the miraculous healing power of Virgin Mary and hoped for their healing. The people still celebrate this event as a very special one with a lot of effort to remind on these people of the past and to bestow honour on the Virgin Mary. The volunteers of 2012/2013 were part of this special celebration and would like to present some pictures and explanations below to you.
On the 20th of November 2012, a ceremony to honor Virgin Mary was celebrated by and in front of the local primary school together with the neighboring church. “Panagias Ereithianis” is the celebration’s name, the name of the school and also of the church.
In the morning, we helped to prepare the frame of the icon and the place where it should be presented (could be imagined like an altar) during the ceremony taking place in the evening. The student’s mothers were bringing flowers and other plants of the island to decorate the icon of Virgin Mary.
The children’s and our task was to arrange the flowers according to color and then we put the flowers together to bouquets.
We discussed and decided which flowers and of which color the should be we would like to put on the frame around the icon. This made us aware of the importance of this event and the icon. Outside, some of the mothers were preparing an altar with carpets where the icon should be presented in the evening.
In the evening, the students together with their families, also former students and neighbors gathered at the primary school to take part at the ceremony. All of them were dressed very well which also emphasizes the importance of this special day for the whole community on the island. The sixth class was starting the religious service by singing a traditional song. Afterwards, a priests and his chanters were continuing.
At a certain moment, some of the students had the special honor to carry the icon to the church where a service of two hours was held.
After the service, everyone that left the church received a small package with traditional food. Next to the church, in the community hall, there were served some traditional snacks with hot tea.
This experience made us even more familiar with the Greek culture and more over to feel part of the school and the community.
To see all the photos go into our gallery!