Holy Temple of the Greatest Brigadiers
The Holy Temple of the Greatest Brigadiers is located a short distance away from Mantamados, in the northeastern part of Lesvos and is one of the most important pilgrimages on the island.
The current church that follows the architectural rhythm of the three-aisled basilica. The monastery complex develops formally, around the temple, giving a fortified character.
The monastery of Taxiarchis in Mantamado is widely known for its miraculous icon, which is housed in a luxurious 1766 canopy.
Taxiarchis is the protector and patron saint of Mantamados, but he is also considered the protector of the whole island. To this day, his image is awe-inspiring with the stern style of the Archangel, the big eyes and the black color, the awesome swords and the gilded wings. The image inside the temple is one of the few relief images in the entire Orthodox world.
According to legend, the monastery was attacked by Saracen pirates, who slaughtered the monks with the exception of a new probationary monk, who managed to hide in the roof of the church. From there he saw after the massacre, the figure of the Archangel fluttering over the corpses of the monks. Taking wax and soil that had been soaked with their blood, he made the figure of the Brigadier General, as he managed to see it.
Today we see only the head and not the whole body, as the monk had done. Believers still wear iron shoes as vows, because tradition wants the Archangel to wear them at night.
The church celebrates on the Myrrh Sunday, two weeks after the Resurrection, with a large religious and commercial festival accompanied by bull sacrifice and then the preparation of the traditional "kiskke" food that is ceremoniously distributed to the pilgrims, who still in big part, come to the Saint on foot on the eve of the feast, from miles away, while there are also horsemen with their horses adorned to honor the Brigadier General.