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Panagia Spiliani

1 byte removed, 01:29, March 17, 2008
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==Site 1: Samos, Greece==
A little to the northwest of ''Pythagorion'', on the island of Samos, there is a '''monastery of Panagia Spiliani''' (the Cave of the Virgin Mary) with 95 steps that lead down into a big cave with a church that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside this church it contains a very faded and old tiled/marble [[icon]] of the '''Panagia Spiliotisa''', which was also called '''Panagia Kaliarmenissa''' (the good travellertraveler). This name is explained by the following legend. The icon had been stolen by strangers who were taking it to there home town. As they were unloading from the boat, the icon fell into the sea and broke into five pieces. Over a long period of time, these pieces, carried by the sea, returned to the island of Samos. The locals collected these fragments and the icon was restored and returned to its original location.
The caves were originally used to extract blocks of massive limestone to build walls and many buildings for the town of Samos. During the Roman period, these caves were used by a female diviner named Fyto. The cave was turned into a religious monument some time after this period. During the Ottoman period of occupation, the locals used the caves to hide the woman and children of the island.
Another interesting feature of these caves is the large pool of Holy Water foudn found in the cave and a Christian cross as a relief on the wall of the cave. This monastery is also a dependency of the Hozeviotissa monastery of Amorgos.
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