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Sifnos, Festival of the Prophet Elias Apsilos

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 20 July 2024
End Date: 20 July 2024
Start Time: 02:00
End Time: 23:30

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 20 July 2024
End Date: 20 July 2024
Start Time: 02:00

The Festival of Prophet Elias Apsilos takes place at the monastery of the same name, which is located on the highest peak of the island of Sifnos. A stone-paved path from Firogia leads amongst the bushes to the monastery at an altitude of 682 meters above sea level. The ascent is easy but tiring, as it takes several hours to reach the top.

front of Church of the Prophet Elias of Apsilos that commemorate festival of her birth at Sifnos, Greece

The church of Prophet Elias is in the centre of an interior courtyard, and is of cruciform style, with a dome and narthex as well as an impressive belfry. Around the courtyard are the monks’ cells, a dining room, and auxiliary spaces.

On the eve of the feast, the evening prayer is chanted and artoklasia follows. Finally, dinner is served in the dining areas of the old monastery. The festivals of Sifnos are centuries’-old traditions and are celebrated on the eve of the day that a church or monastery honours the memory of the saint that it is dedicated to. The picturesque and lively festivals attract many people, who chant and pray – but also cook, eat, drink and celebrate until late into the night in the church’s white-washed courtyards.

One of the most important festivals of Sifnos is the one of Prophet Elias Apsilos, celebrated on the 20th of July. The host of the festival, called the panigiras, the Sifnos islander who has the honour of keeping the icon of the church in his house for an entire year, returning it on the day of the festival. The panigiras assumes all the expenses of the festival, as well as the care and maintenance of the church. After the liturgy, the worshippers sit around the “tables of love” to taste revithada, olives, kokkinisto with pasta, and cod during the fasting period. They also drink red wine, served in local clay jugs while toasting to the health of the panigiras. The celebrators stay until the break of dawn, dancing, and singing. The next morning, after the liturgy, the next panigiras takes the sacred icon to his home to keep it for the coming year.  

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