Church of Panagia Kakaviotissa
The little church of Panagia Kakaviotissa is a striking Greek Orthodox church. This church on the island of Lemnos, is the only small church without a roof in the country, possibly in the world. It is carved into the mouth of a cave at the top of the Μount Kakavos at an altitude of about 250 meters and among imposing cliffs, a location that probably hosted an early Christian church and hermits during the Byzantine period. Panagia was named Kakaviotissa after the Mount Kakavos, on which the chapel was built on.
The history of the small church begins in 1300 when it was founded by some monks from the island of Agios Efstratios who settled there in order to protect themselves from the Ottomans. Over the years the monks passed away and no new monks came to the chapel. The last who remained, decided to leave Lemnos and go live at the monastic community of Mount Athos. Tradition has it that before leaving for Mount Athos, the last monk found a local shepherd from the Moumtzi family and entrusted him with the icon of the Virgin Mary, “Rodon the amaranth”. The monk asked the shepherd to take the icon to the church every Tuesday following the Easter Day for the mass.
Panagia Kakaviotissa is one of the must-see places on this beautiful island. It is located close to the village of Thanos, 4 km southeast of the port of MyrinaIt and takes about 25 minutes to reach the church on foot. The walk up and back is relatively easy but we suggest that you do the climb early or late to avoid the hot sun. Also, make sure you wear comfortable, enclosed shoes and take plenty of water with you. It is a bit of a trek but the views looking over the island and Moudros Bay are incredible and the experience make it worth it. The church holds a Divine Liturgy every Tuesday after Easter, day on which the Holy icon of Panagia Kakaviotissa is transferred into the chapel from the house of a local family in Kontias. Panagia Kakaviotissa belongs to the Megisti Lavra Monastery since 1305 AD., and apart from an attraction is a sanctuary for those who want to pray in silence.