Visit the Monastery of Panormitis on Symi Island

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The Monastery of Panormitis dedicated to the Archangel Michael is one of the largest attractions on Symi Island. The largest of the many monasteries located on this island, most of which are dedicated to the Archangel Michael, is a stunning complex along the shoreline south west of the main town on the island. Visitors flock to this monastery to view the artwork and museums located on the grounds or as a pilgrimage. Here’s more information:

History of the Monastery of Panormitis

There are some people who believe that the first monastery was constructed on this site around the year 450 on top of a temple dedicated to the ancient Greek god, Apollo. However, written documentation can only prove that the original building was already there in the 1400’s and no exact construction date has ever been established.

The current church at the monastery was constructed in the early1800’s and the two large buildings containing the dorms were constructed after World War II. The famous bell tower was completed prior to World War 1 is the highest baroque bell tower in the world.

Home of a Miraculous Icon

Local lore states that the monastery contains a miraculous portrait of Michael the Archangel. It is believed that the icon was painted and later removed, only to reappear in the same place in the church after removal. Local lore states that the icon was removed on several occasions and always returns to the same wall.

Pilgrims seeking favors from St. Michael bring offerings and place them before the icon. In most cases these offerings are of a brand new broom. Local legend states that the Archangel can be heard sweeping the monastery at night and that he is always seeking a fresh broom for his chores.

As the Patron Saint of Symi Island and that of seafarers, Michael the Archangel is given many offerings at the monastery. It is believed that Michael requires that you provide something for him in return for his intersession and that if you do not keep your end of the bargain, he will seek out his reward. It is believed that many boats have been unable to leave the docks of the island unless everyone aboard has kept their promises to the saint.

Celebrate An Important Feast Day Here

One of the main events at the monastery is on November 8, which is the time of an important feast day, the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel. This celebration is so large that many celebrations begin the night before and people come from all over the world to celebrate. Since this is the feast day of the islands Patron Saint, celebrations take place across the island and specifically at the monastery. If you happen to be on the island at that time, it might be worth visiting!

Visiting the monastery of St. Michael the Archangel is an experience you will truly enjoy. The museums are filled with religious and cultural displays dating back to the Byzantine Empire, and the frescos and icons located in the church are exceptional to see.

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