kythnos island

The island of Kythnos is characterized by the abundance of churches and chapels that are scattered in its semi-mountainous terrain, next to the beaches, on rocks and cellars, many of which are dedicated to Virgin Mary. The church of Panagia Kanala, located in the homonymous settlement, is one of the important places of pilgrimage as the miraculous icon of Panagia Kanala, which is the protector of the island, is preserved and worshiped there.

The song "Cycladic" with lyrics by the poet Nikos Gatsos, written by Manos Hadjidakis, refers to Panagia Kanala.

"Let the Blessed-Virgin and Kanala Virgin Mary give wishing
you to grow up fast like the other girls.
And the day of Saint Helias in Naxos and Paros
let the Kalamiotissa Virgin Mary help you become the woman of my life."

The church is built in the settlement of Kanala at the edge of the small pine-covered peninsula of the island. The original church was small and earth-shattered, and at one time was converted into a monastery according to documents found at the Benaki Museum. The present church was built in 1869 after the demolition of the existing temple. The church houses the icon of the Virgin Mary Kanala of Berefokratousa, said to be the work of Apostle Luke, but it appears to be the work of the hagiographer of the Cretan School of Priest Emmanuel Skordilis (1575). It is a large image (1.00 x 0.80) depicting the calm and sweet form of Our Lady holding the divine infant in her arms.

According to tradition, the miraculous icon of Panagia Kanala was found in the narrow channel between Kythnos and Serifos by Kythnian fishermen. It is said that the fishermen had a special good fishing that night, their boat started to lean of the weight of the fish without the fishing yet completed. The fishing kept getting better and better for the fishermen, which convinced them that they were a miracle from Panagia and so they were making the sign of the cross. Approaching the rocks in coastline they saw a light which playing and jumping out of the sea. They were frightened and departed when the light became steady and glowing and so those who had initially scared with courage approached the light next to a piece of an emerging piece of wood. The fishermen dared and lifted the wood on which the Virgin Mary was depicted. They embraced the image with awe and were transported to shore with their rich fishing.

When they arrived at the village of Dryopida, telling their story, they all began to worship and glorify and vowed to build a church for the sake of Our Lady. Work on the church was actually started, but the Virgin Mary appeared in the dream of the fishermen and pointed out the place for the church, which is still there.

Every 15th of August Panagia Kanala is celebrated with the participation of the sailor, the image is circulated as well as a representation of its discovery. The image is miraculous as many believers who have relied on the help of Our Lady and her intercession in the Lord have been helped.

The miraculous icon has also been transferred to churches across the island to be worshiped by the faithful and honored with doctrines and liturgies.


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