The Cave Hermitage of Agios Georgios Madilas
Among the monasteries of Meteora, there is one inside a cave some 40 meters above ground on the north side of a Meteora rock, dedicated to Agios Georgios (Saing George). It is an old ruined monastery linked to a very peculiar and unique custom. There is no much information on the foundation date and who actually lived there, but we know that the cave was used as a hermitage by several monks for centuries. Although, there are many customs around Greece honoring Saint George, only one involves colorful headscarves and climbing on the cliffs and this one take place in this cave. The custom is linked to legends and myths originated in the Ottoman era that have been circulating from mouth to mouth for centuries.
In the 17th century Meteora like most of Greece was under the Ottoman rule. One day a Turk went to a small forest under the hermitage to cut wood. While he was chopping down the wood, he had an awful accident and was injured seriously. His wife rushed to help him but soon realized that couldn’t do much. She then turned to Saint George and started praying on him for help. She also offered her scarf (a most valuable gift according to the Muslim religion) to the Saint as a gift to help her husband to be healed. Miraculously, her husband recovered, and the woman kept her promise by giving her veil to the Saint.
So significant was in the minds of the locals the above incident and the associated miracle, that in memory of all this, once every year after the church service on the name day of Saint George, young men climb the steep cliff to change the old scarves offered by local people, with new ones. The custom attracts many people from Kastraki and the surrounding areas as well as many tourists.