Archangel Michael of Panormitis

On the island of Symi, Greece is the famous miraculous-working icon of Archangel Michael of Panormitis (Grk: Ο Πανορμίτης) held at the Monastery, of the same name, is one of four miraculous icons of the Archangel in the Dodecannese region. Archangel Michael Panormitis is not only the island’s parton saint but also the guardian of sailors for the entire Dodecanese area.

Tamata to Archangel Michael
According to tradition, if someone asks a favour of the Archangel they must vow to give something in return. If the offering (tama) is not made the Archangel will find a way to take it.

One famous miracle that still frequently occurs today is the miracle of the Archangel preventing boats from leaving the dock. This is such a frequent occurrence that captains announce over the PA asking whoever has forgotten a promise to the Archangel to get off and leave their tama. Once this promise is fulfilled only then do the boat’s engines work.

As a result, the interior of the Monastery is covered in thousands upon thousands of tamata left by pilgrims, both local and overseas, including model ships made from gold and silver.

Messages in a bottle
Another tradition are the bottles with prayers inside. This originated from Greek sailors, who would cast these into the sea and would end up on the shoreline of the monastery.

Today, many believers around the world still practice this tradition. The Monastery has put many of these messages on display in the museum.

Broom offering
A local custom of the Dodecannese is to offer a traditional broom made of straw or reed. Church tradition has passed down that monks from the Monastery would hear the Archangel sweeping his Monastery at night with these broom offerings.

According to local tradition, many people who gave these offerings have been visited by the Archangel in their sleep.

The icon
The icon appeared miraculous and on several occasions was removed only to reappear in the same location.

The Monastery
The Monastery is a very popular place of pilgrimage. It has two museums which house a large collection of ecclesiastical art, icons, ship model offerings and important objects of the island’s folk culture. The Monastery’s dorm-house can accommodate up to 500 people and allows entire families to stay.

There is also a memorial to a former abbot, two monks and two teachers, who in 1944, were executed for running a spy radio for the British commandoes.

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