Panagia Faneromeni church in Nea Skioni
Panagia Faneromeni (Virgin Mary) church is located 2 km east of Nea Skioni village in Kassandra Halkidiki, on the seaside road that leads to Agia Paraskevi thermal spa (Loutra). The church is built in a beautiful place, by the sea and maintains some marvelous wall paintings of 16th century.
The church took its name by the image of Virgin Mary, painted on an erect marble statue base. The local tradition says that a local resident saw a light coming from the sea towards the sore. He thought that it might be a pirate ship, so he called his fellow residents. In the morning the light reached the beach and everybody realized that this was a piece of marble, floating (!) on the sea. By taking a closer look they saw the image of Virgin Mary on the marble surface. The villagers considered this to be a miracle and asked the turkish bey of the area (as the area was then under Ottoman control) to let them build a small church to house the icon. But bey refused and started stepping on the image. Then it is said that the marble softened and became like mud that trapped bey 's feet. Seeing this he felt sorry, apologized and allowed the building of the church.
Initially the villagers started building it on the hilltop, to be protected from pirates. But every night the church was destroyed mysteriously and the marble icon was found near the sea. Thus, they finally built the church by the sea, at the location where the icon was found. This seemed to be the desire of Virgin Mary. Inside the church villagers placed the piece of marble with the image of Virgin Mary.
According to the local tradition the image of Virgin Mary cries before something bad happens to the country. It is said that the image shed tears before World War II and before the invasion in Cyprus.