Legend of the Church of Panagia Platsani on Santorini island

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The Church of Panagia Platsani is the most famous church in Oia on the northern part of the Greek island of Santorini.

Situated at the heart of the village, on the main square, the white building is built on a square plan, has five domes, the largest painted blue.  

Originally located within the protective walls of the Venetian Castle of Oia, the church faced devastation during the earthquake of July 1956.

According to Santorini-more.com, it was forced to relocate due to instability and the looming threat of collapse and it was reconstructed at its current site.

Photo: jimmy teoh

According to legend, the icon of the Holy Mother placed in the Church of Panagia Platsani was found in the sea.

While fishing, a fisherman saw a light resembling a lit candle in the middle of the sea. Heading towards it, he discovered the sacred icon of the Mother of God, but found himself unable to retrieve it. So he informed the local priest who, together with the inhabitants, while praying and carrying torches, went down to the sea, fished the icon and with great respect moved it to the local church. The next day the icon disappeared.

After a long search, the icon was found by the wall of the Castle in Oia. She was placed in the local church again, but the next day she was not there again. This happened for many days, until the residents understood that the icon chose a location where to build a church – a place from which she could see the sea and the sailors sailing that she could bless.

The name of the church “Platsani” comes from the sound of waves hitting the icon floating in the sea (“plats – plats”). The church is dedicated to the Standing Hymn to the Mother of God (Akathistos Theotokos). According to legend, this name was created to commemorate the siege of Constantinople in 626 C.E. by the Persians, Sassanids and Avars.

Residents managed to defend the city. In the evening they gathered in the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae (Istanbul) to sing thanksgiving songs together. Singing, they stood all night, hence the name of the hymn “akathistos” or standing.

Source: Santorini-more.com

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