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Religious buildings on Skopelos
The capital Skopelos Town alone is said to have 123 churches and in the hills above the town there are around 15 monasteries. The whole of Skopelos has 40 monasteries and around 360 churches and chapels. All religious buildings are of Greek Orthodox origin, except one that was built for a small group of Jehovah's Witnesses. Many chapels are often built by the Greeks on their own land, especially if something good has happenedto them one day. The chapel is then named after the saint of that day.
- Panagia Papameletiou or Koimisis tis Theotókou: cross church from 1662 with iconostasis by Antónios Agorastós.
- Panagia tou Pyrgou: church from the 15th century, the narthex and the bell tower are from the 19th century.
- Agios Michael: a remarkable church with an exterior made of spolia, sarcophagi, columns and inscriptions.
- Igios Antónios: a church.
- Agios Athanásios tou Kástrou: church from the 11th century, but the foundations date back to the 9th century and has some beautiful 16th century frescoes, the iconostasis is from the 18th century.
- Panagia Eleftheria: church with exterior walls decorated with ceramic tiles.
- Agia Pándes: chapel.
- Hristo: church with frescoes.
- Moni Evangelismou or Evangelistrias (formerly Evangelismos tis Theotokou): large monastery from 1676, built by Hadji-Stefanis Daponte, and completely rebuilt in 1712 with iconostasis of gilded wood and a Maria icon from the 10th century. It also houses the sigillum, the seal on a patriarchal document from 1804.
- Metamorphosis tou Sotiros: one of the oldest monasteries on Skopelos (ca. 1500), unfortunately abandoned. With icons by the famous Byzantine icon painter Agorastos.
- Moni Timiou Prodromou: restored in 1721 by the monk Filaretos and dedicated to John the Baptist, with a nave in the shape of a cross, which is quite rare in Greece. It houses very precious relics, icons (16th-18th century), frescoes (14th-15th century). Until 1920 it was a monastery for monks and then a nunnery.
- Moni Barbara: uninhabited fortified monastery from 1648, the oldest on Skopelos.
- Agios Taxiarchon: abandoned monastery, with a 17th century catholicon and Byzantine columns of a Christian church from 672.
- Agios Riginos: Monastery of 1728 named after the first bishop and patron saint of Skopelos, Reginos, who was beheaded in 362 AD by order of the Roman emperor Julian Apostata 'the Apostate' and died a martyr's death. The mortal remains of Riginos were initially brought to Cyprus, but were brought back a year later by Hadji Konstantinos, a ship's captain from Skopelos.
- Agios Efstathiou: abandoned monastery built in 1596.
- Agios Georgios: 11th or 12th century church with a beautiful pebble floor and frescos.
- Agios Nikólaos: church.
- Agia Triada: modern chapel.
- Panagia Ston Pirgo: chapel, Holy Lady on the Tower from the 17th century, located on a cliff with a view of the port of Skopelos town.
- Agios Apóstoli: church with 17th century frescoes of saints.
- O Yiannis sto Kastri: chapel featured in the 2008 film 'Mamma Mia', a British-American musical film starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
Skopelos in Greek mythology
In ancient Greece, for example in the writings of the Athenian army commander and historian Thucydides, present-day Skopelos was called Peparithos. Peparithos was the brother of Staphilos, the first inhabitant of Skopelos and son of the god Dionysos and Ariadne, daughter of the Cretan king Minos.
The Legend of Riginos and the Dragon
Legend has it that 800 years ago, a dragon appeared on Skopelos and killed and ate all of its inhabitants. Neighbouring islands even sent their condemned people to Skopelos to keep the dragon at bay. This situation lasted for about 400 years, until Saint Riginos intervened. He decided to kill the animal and got on board with some of the condemned. On Skopelos the dragon saw Riginos and fled. Riginos chased the dragon between the towns of Staphilos and Amarantos and when the dragon saw no way out he jumped from a rock into the sea. The rock from which the dragon jumped broke off (schism) and the place where that happened was from that day on called Drakontoschism.
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country ProfilesLast updated November 2023
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