One of the most beautiful Shrines in Greece, it is located in the port of Aegio, perched on a 30-metre high rock.
The Church took its name (Tripiti) from the cave-hole (in Greek “tripa”) where it is built.
From a distance, the majestic Church looks as if built on a rock. The “holy” beauty of the surrounding area enhances the imposing appearance of the Church. Slender cypresses and dark green, dense pine trees complete the scenery. 150 steps connect the Holy Shrine with the public road. It would be a sin not to stand in the narthex of the Church, where Holy Water runs from a marble fountain and the mouth of three angels. There, you will see engraved the famous palindrome inscription: “ΝΙΨΟΝ ΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑ ΜΗ ΜΟΝΑ ΝΟΨΙΝ” (Nipson anomēmata mē monan opsin), meaning “Wash my transgressions, not only my face”.
According to folk tradition, in the mid-16th century, after long hours struggling in the furious sea, a castaway in the Corinthian Gulf was led to the place where the Church now stands, after having seen a sign, like light shimmering in the night. A sign of hope, salvation and land. When he got there, he realised he was standing in front of the icon of Virgin Mary, Panagia Zoodochos Pigi, that was beaming with light. The miraculous icon of Virgin Mary performed its first miracle and made the formerly unknown cave famous.
The first skete is a small cave, measuring only three by two metres, with an opening made of rocks. According to religious tradition, the initial decision was for the Church to be built further east from its current location, due to the hazardous site of the rock. On the evening of the first day of works however, something like an explosion or a strong earthquake took place, exactly where the icon was found, creating the right site for a small church. This was Her will and, as people say: “Virgin Mary made Her home”.
The modern Church took its current brilliant form in the 19th century. The renaissance-style marble staircase was built in 1870 and in 1933 the Holy Church of Panagia Tripiti became the Patron and protector of Aegio. In 1970, it was recognised as a National Holy Shrine. It celebrates on Easter Friday and the day is considered an official religious holiday for the town. The celebration includes a procession of the holy icon and an official litany with thousands of devout participants. On this day, Aegio looks at its best, the shops close and the houses open to welcome guests.
Over the years, the fame of Panagia Tripiti spread across Greece and pilgrims from every corner of the country come here to worship the faith-inspired icon. Experts claim that the icon of Panagia Vrefokratousa is painted by Luke the Evangelist, when the Saint was in Achaia. The church also hosts an icon of Saint Georgios, depicting the Saint on foot and not on horseback, as usually depicted. This work, by an unknown artist, is of great archaeological value.
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