Photo: © Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια - Facebook Team
Monastery of Agia Marina
One of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Greece, the Agia Marina Monastery is located in Apikia north of the capital of Andros Island. Dedicated to the 3rd century martyr Agia (Saint) Marina of Antioch, the monastery dates from 1325. The legend says that Agia Marina was miraculously revealed to an elderly monk and guided him to a slit of a rock where her lost icon was hidden. The monk with the financial support of Emperor Emmanuel II Komnenos established the monastery on the island of Andros.
In the 16th century, the monastery was burnt down three times during pirate raids, resulting to a total decline. Most monks left and only five elderly monks lived in the convent in 1743. Years later, Sophonios experienced some visions that urged him to sell the property he owned in the Peloponnese and rebuilt the monastery. In 1746, the monastery turned into a nunnery but almost 150 years later, it was forced to close down and turned into a stable due to the issuance of a decree of the Bavarian regents. The icon of Agia Marina was sold at an enforced auction to the Empirikos family and put into the church of Panagia in Chora, where it was kept for the next 146 years.
In 1975, Metropolitan Dorotheos visited the ruins and asked his deacon Kyprianos, to restore the monastery but he refused. However, he changed his mind after Agia Marina revealed herself in a vision telling him that herself and her sisters would like to return to the monastery. Restoration started the day after and at the same time the monk discovered the holy spring that the Saint had revealed to him in his dream. Finally, the Holy Icon returned to the monastery in 1976 thanks to Kypriano’s persistent endeaveor. The icon of Agia Marina is miraculous and the monastery gained fame for the miraculous healing of a child from Cyprus. It attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, especially on its feast day, July 17.
The monastery of Agia Marina is located 4km north of Chora. In order to get there, follow the road from Chora to Apikia and turn left at the intersection that leads to Ipsilou and Strapourgies villages. Then, just follow the road signs.