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Skyros, Festival of Saint Ermolaos

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 26 July 2024
End Date: 26 July 2024
church of St. Ermolaos -

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 26 July 2024
End Date: 26 July 2024

The uninhabited islet just off the island of Skyros is visited by mothers of various ages on the day before the Festival of Agios (Saint) Ermolaos to clean the interior of the church and the courtyard, so that the Saint will keep their children healthy throughout the following year. They whitewash the environs and adorn with flowers the exquisite icon of St. Ermolaos which is located prominently in the church and the carved wooden icon screen. On the day of the feast, the boatmen with their decorated wooden boats gather at dawn in the small harbour of Molos, north of Chora (island’s capital) and next to the most popular beach of the island, the famous Magazia.

Pilgrims, bearing artos, loukoumades and Skyrian delicacies, along with the island priests, embark for the trip to the deserted islet.

During the trip, all sing verses dedicated to the Saint: “On Agios Ermolaos islet is a chapel, called Agios-Ermolaos, the jewel of Molos. It celebrates in July, to His grace all flock, young and old. From Molos small fishing boats carry the people, and on their way, they urge them to sing.”

During the liturgy, the mothers remove a piece of their children’s clothing and, as per custom, place it in a hole on the eastern side of the cliff so that the wind, by carrying it away, also takes away all illness. The ritual concludes with the worship of the icon.

Returning to the main island, a festival takes place at the harbor of Molos with feasting and singing that goes on for many hours.

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