Pilgrimage on the knees in Tinos

As soon as she got off the ferry, a middle aged woman with a cane, dressed in black, did the sign of the Cross and fell on her knees to complete her pilgrimage.

Every year on the 15th of August, the day of Virgin Mary Assumption Day, thousands of pilgrims from all over Greece and abroad, arrive on the Cycladic island of Tinos to fulfill their “Tama to Panagia”, (promise to Virgin Mary) by crawling all the way up to the temple of Our Lady of Tinos to touch the miraculous holy icon of Virgin Mary. They go on the pilgrimage to ask for help, forgiveness, or to thank Virgin Mary for “helping” them with an issue of medical nature in most cases.

Pilgrims crawl on their knees for about 500 meters (1,640 feet) uphill, to reach the temple or 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) if they decide to start from the port. Men, women, children of all ages form a hundreds of meters queue, and crawl all the up to the temple.

Text and photos by Michael Varaklas