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Votive offerings to the Virgin Mary on Tinos island

15 August 2014 / 17:08:10  GRReporter
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In difficult times, people often seek help and support in faith and most of them turn to the Virgin Mary who embodies the general image of the mother, as stated by theologians.

This also applies to many celebrities. Politicians, sportsmen, singers, actors, big businessmen at certain times of their lives have also felt the need to turn to the Mother of God and ask for her help on an important issue for them.

On the day of the Assumption all the Greek monasteries that are dedicated to the Virgin Mary are full of laypeople who want to pray for health and solve different problems. The prayer goes along with a votive offering that the laypeople leave on her holy icon.

The votive offering is usually a gold item or piece of jewellery. They have filled the icon of the Virgin Mary - Annunciation on Tinos island for many years. Among the crosses vowed to the Virgin Mary by members of the royal family one can see those devoted by other politicians, as well as gold records won by different singers and even Olympic medals of sportsmen.

In his story in "Ethnos" newspaper Metropolitan Dorotheos of Syros presents interesting facts about the votive offerings vowed by some of the most famous Greeks.

The majority of them were vowed to the Virgin Mary in the past. According to the Metropolitan the wealthy Greeks no longer vow so expensive items. "The majority of them come to pay homage without making a fuss about it, say their prayers and leave. There are no longer cases of votive offerings as before," he says, adding that they are "priceless relics" because "the faith of people, whether they are famous or not, and the reason that has brought them to the temple of the Virgin Mary, show that the price of items is not important."

Among the famous pilgrims of the Virgin Mary in the temple on Tinos island have been many politicians, including former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and Konstantinos Mitsotakis who often went to pay homage there.

Businessmen of the rank of shipowner Yiannis Latsis and the Hondos brothers, owners of a chain of beauty shops, made many donations to the monastery in Tinos. Latsis was a personal friend of Metropolitan Dorotheos I of Syros and often visited Tinos on his yacht. According to the current Metropolitan, his children and grandchildren continue the tradition today and pay homage to the Virgin Mary every year.

Among the votive offerings in Tinos are the baptismal crosses of the last Greek King Constantine and his wife Anna-Maria, a golden icon left by Konstantinos Mitsotakis and the gold medal of weightlifter Pyrros Dimas.

The monastery keeps many historical relics from the time of the Greek War of Independence, including the gold ring of one of the leaders of the revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis, as well as of Miaoulis, Kanaris, Nikitaras and Makrianis.

In the mid-1960s, Queen Anna-Maria walked with her daughter Alexia the distance from the port to the Church of Our Lady of Tinos and left a golden cross on the icon. Several years ago, her son Nikolaos left his.

The marble room of the church keeps the gold medallion of Archbishop Yeronimos I and the necklace of Queen Frederica too. Many of the votive offerings were left by big ship-owning families like those of Onassis, Niarchos and Livanos, and no one ever knew exactly when they visited the monastery. Their visits have become known due to their signatures in the book of laypeople’s messages of gratitude.

When the Greek national football team won the European championship in 2004 Angelos Charisteas vowed to visit the temple and did so immediately after his return to Greece whereas weightlifter Pyrros Dimas vowed to the Virgin Mary the gold medal that he won during the Mediterranean Games in 1994.



Tags: SocietyThe AssumptionMonasteryTemple of the Virgin MaryTinosVotive offering
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