The monastery of Panormitis is situated in the south part of Symi island in a small, quaint little village.
Of course, there are other monasteries throughout the island, but this one has great historical importance to Symians. On his celebration (8th of November and Pentecost) pilgrims from all over the country and other places visit the monastery to pray inside the church and ask favors from the patron saint. A big festival is hosted and food, wine and free residence are often offered to the visitors. Archangel Michael of Panormitis Monastery is perceived to be a guardian for sailors all around the Dodecanese islands, hence how many sailors carry a small icon depicting him during their travels. If you walk in the church, you’ll notice some offerings from people hanging in front of the religious icon. It is said that, if you’re having health, fertility and prosperity issues and you pray to him, then he can help you. However, he asks something in return. He expects anyone that need him to visit Panormitis and bring either olive oil or wooden brooms as a gift. Some believe that an ancient temple existed below the foundation of the monastery, but there are not any archaeological findings that can prove this. The existence of Panormitis monastery in the 15th century is proven by a manuscript of 1460. According to folklore, the fact that this church was built had a lot to do with the devotion of the Symian residents. What is visible from afar is the stunning and imposing Baroque style bell tower that was built around the 18th century, which people lit up during the night and create a magical imagery on this part of the island. Next to the church, one can see a row of white buildings constructed parallel to the coast and are used as a lodge for the visitors. These were built by the Italians after World War II.
Inside the church you’ll find old religious murals that cover the entire ceiling and sides. One of the many that is worth mentioning is the ‘Fall of the Angels’ which is located at the back. There you see the icon of Archangel Michael of Panormitis as well that is 2 meters high and made of silver leaves. That icon has been lost and found in the same place (this monastery) many times across history, as reported by legends. Imposing chandeliers are decorating and offer lighting to the place. Once you go out the exit door, you’ll come across a small room, where you can light a candle.
The courtyard of the monastery is covered by pebble mosaics in black and white color and you can smell the colorful plants and greenery like basil that enrich the beauty of this architectural miracle. Visitors have the chance to explore two museums here. One displays ecclesiastical art and specifically pontifical, silver icons, Russian epitaphs, utensils and even ship models that were offered to the monastery. The other, exhibits folk art and important objects related to the folk culture of Symi and are relevant to fishing, agriculture and shepherding. A library can also be found that is full of Byzantine manuscripts and editions of ecclesiastical, historical and philological content, as well as a gallery with paintings of the landscape and the monastery and its two chapels.
Do walk along the wide streets of the village and try some of the delicacies offered in the bakery or the local restaurant! More importantly, take in this heavenly landscape of the sharp hills concealed by dark-green pine trees, the brilliant architecture of the blue, white and yellow houses and of course the never-ending deep-blue water of the Aegean Sea. This place is so pure and so wondrous and it is definitely worth a visit! If you want to get to Panormitis, you can do it either by renting a car or a motorcycle or hopping on one of the buses (1 hour and a half) or you can board a ferry (45 minutes). Choose your preferred means of transportation and enjoy your time there! The telephone of the monastery for any information and bookings is (+30) 22460 71581.