TINOS is an island of pilgrimages, some of the most skilled stonemasons in the islands, and a haunting fruitfulness.
Don’t be surprised if some of the ladies (for some reason it is always the ladies) don gloves and special kneepads and crawl up the Street from the boat on their hands and knees. This is ‘the Lourdes of the Aegean”, the spiritual heart of modern Greece (much as nearby Delos was of ancient Greece), and they are heading in penance or supplication up the hill to the church of Panayia Ex'angelistria, This is the home of a miracle-working icon of the Virgin attributed to St. Luke and unearthed in 1823 after a nun at the Convent of Kechrovounio announced that she had been visited by the Virgin in a dream.
The fact that this first miracle happened at the start of the War of Independence considerably enhanced the shrine’s potency. Its importance to the national psyche was reaffirmed in 1940, when on the annual pilgrimage of 15 August an Italian submarine torpedoed and sank a Greek cruiser in the harbour.