H Παναγία η Μαλτέζα: ‘The Maltese’ Holy Mother of God in Santorini (Greece)
Perhaps not many are aware that on the Greek island of Santorini, renowned worldwide for its natural beauty in the middle of the Aegean sea, a local church in the village of Imerovigli, houses an icon which the locals call the ‘Maltese’ Holy Mother of God. The story behind this holy icon is indeed very intriguing. According to the local Greek tradition, the icon was found at sea by Captain Theordoros Borlis, from Imerovigli, during one of his journeys from Santorini to Malta, during which he was carrying wine. The Holy Mother of God appeared to the captain in a dream, telling him to retrieve her icon from the sea. He actually found the icon at sea, very near to Malta. He took it to his native Imerovigli where he built a church in her honour. The original church of Our ‘Maltese’ Lady (19th c.) was destroyed in an earthquake in 1956 and a new church was built on the same site.
The Greeks on Santorini celebrate the feast of the ‘Maltese’ Mother of God on November 21st.