Archangel Michael of Panormitis
The miraculous icon of the Archangel Michael Panormitis (Gr. Αρχάγγελος Μιχαήλ ο Πανορμίτης στη Σύμη) in Symi, Greece is one of four miraculous icons of the Archangel Michael in the Dodecanesse of Greece
Monastery of the Taxiarchis
Symi island of the Dodecanese, Greece, is situated in southeast Aegean sea and northwest of Rhodes. While touring around the island you will see many churches and monasteries. The Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panormitis is the most important in the island and second in Dodecanese after the monastery of Saint John in Patmos. It is located in the south end of Symi, built in a closed cove with sand.
The exact date of the construction of the original church stays unknown but some locals suggest that it was built around 450 AD on the site of an ancient temple to Apollo. It is dedicated to the Taxiarch Michael and we do know that it was renovated at the end of the 18th century. It contains a splendid icon of the Archangel and two interesting museum sections. On the day of his celebration many pilgrims of all Dodecanese come to the island to celebrate.
There is also memorial to a former abbot, two monks and two teachers, who in 1944, were executed for running a spy radio for the British commandoes.
The monastery receives heaps of day-trippers from Rhodes, so if you really want to enjoy it in peace and quiet it is best to wait until they have gone. The monastery’s dorm-house can host up to 500 people.
Reaching it can be done only by boat from Gialos.
- Note, if visiting Symi for the Taxiarch, it is also worth visiting the monasteries of Roukounioti, dedicated to Archangel Michail and the Monastery of Kokkimidis. The Monastery of Roukounioti has remarkable murals dating from the 14th century. The Monastery of Kokkimidis, on the other hand, is a old Byzantine monastery renovated in 1697. Other monasteries of interest include the Monastery of Sotiros and of Stavros Polemou which are on the west coast of the island.
The monastery houses the famous icon of Archangel Michael - Panormitis, who is the island's patron saint and the guardian of sailors. The icon has on several occasions, been removed from its location but on each occassion has mysteriously returned to its original location.
Folklore & Tradition
According to legend, if you ask a favour from Archangel Michael, you must promise to give something in return. As a result, the inside of the church (now in the museum) houses an array of gifts given by devout pilgrims. Some of these gifts are model ships made from gold and silver. The monastery is also filled with wonderful paintings, carvings and icons depicting various saints.
- Message in a bottle
- Another item of interest is the bottles with prayers inside. The origin's of this tradition are owed to the Greek sailors, who would cast these into the sea and would end up, mysteriously, on the shoreline of the monastery.
- Today, many believers still practise this tradition. If you visit the museum these messages have been kept for anyone to read.
- The tradition of the broom offering
- Another local tradition, is to offer Panormitis a traditional broom so that he can sweep his monastery during the night ... this tradition stems from locals having seen visions of Panormiti during their sleep requesting them to make him this offering.
- Fulfil your promise ... or else ...
- After docking at the picturesque harbor of Symi, passengers board one of the local boats and follow the western coast of the island to the harbour of "Panormitis". Many of these passengers are pilgrims who have made a promise to the Taxiarch and visit the island to fulfill that promise. There are many stories that are told where a pilgrim has forgotten to give his 'tagma' or something unusual occurs and the boat does not leave the dock.
Hymns & Troparia
Hail, Michael, great chief commander with all the hosts of heaven!
The Other Icons of the Dodecanesse
1. Archangel Michael of Mantamados near Mytilini, Lesvos island, Greece