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A little on etymology: the word “assumption” comes from the Latin “assumptio” which means “a taking up” or “receiving” which refers to the Virgin Mary being taken up to heaven. While this national holiday is most commonly known as the Assumption of the Virgin Mary it has many other names. It may be referred to as ‘dekapentavgoustos’ in Greek which literally translates to August 15.
It is also referred to as the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, or ‘kimisis’ of the Virgin Mary. Dormition (a religious euphemism for death) refers to a peaceful death resembling one falling asleep. You might also hear the Virgin Mary referred to as Panagia in Greek. You will no doubt see many churches around Greece called Panagia as they are dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
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Pilgrimage To Tinos
On August 15th every region pays tribute to the Virgin Mary. While different churches have their own unique way of celebrating it, regardless of location people participate en masse. The island of Tinos has a very special association with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary was found on this Greek island and is one of the most important in Greece. Because of it, this island is a place of religious pilgrimage.
The story goes back 200 years when St. Pelagia, a nun from the convent of Kechrovounion, dreamt of the Virgin Mary and how she had suffered underground for many years. Later excavations found the icon of the Virgin Mary on January 30, 1823.
The Church of Panayia Evangelistria in Tinos is home to this famous icon and is a must see whether you are religious or not. Many believe that the icon has healing powers so the church is frequented by many worshippers, some who have travelled great distances. If you do visit remember to dress respectfully and cover your shoulders.
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