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Panagia Soumela

The Monastery of Panagia Soumela is located on the verdant slopes of Vermion mountains, near Kastania in Imathia, and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Greece. It was founded in 1951, with the initiative of author Filon Ktenidis and the "Panagia Soumela" society, with the aim of reviving the historic Monastery of Panagia of Pontus on Mount Mela , near Trebizond. The monastery operated from the 4th century until its destruction by the Turks in 1922. The surviving manuscripts, along with the image of Panagia, were kept for about a century at the Byzantine Museum in Athens before being transferred to the new monastery, about 20 km from Veria.

The Panagia Soumela Monastery in Greece was inaugurated in 1952 and from the start of its operation, it has been a destination for many visitors. With its strong historical connection to the Pontian element, as a continuation of the Panagia Soumela which served as the spiritual center of Pontian Hellenism for centuries, it has been referred to as the "spiritual center of the Pontians". Although its devotees come from all over the world, it is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin and celebrates on August 15th. The pilgrimage during the feast of the Assumption is well attended and accompanied by festive events.

The icon of Panagia Soumela is attributed to Luke the Evangelist. The monastery’s cathedral is a magnificent Byzantine-style that holds the namesake image of the Virgin inside. The architectural complex today includes two churches, many guesthouses, and all kinds of auxiliary facilities for the service of visitors and pilgrims. It also operates a rich library and a museum of valuable church vessels, icons, and vestments.


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