Every year on August 15, during the Assumption of Mary, a very dramatic pilgrimage takes place in the island of Tinos. Believers from all over Greece come to pray and ask for blessing for their loved ones.
The special thing about this pilgrimage is that many of the believers will go to the church on their knees. They will start from their disembarkation from the ship and will never stand before they reach the church. This is something they have promised to the Virgin Mary in order for a wish they have to be fulfilled. Many may have sick or relatives in need and they trust their last hopes to God.
The distance between the port and the church is a bit less than a kilometer. The road is slightly uphill. Some people get too tired and cannot continue the way on their knees and their family may start pulling them upwards.
The queue to the church is very big in order to reach the Icon of Virgin Mary. It might take a few hours to reach. The only exception is the people who come on their knees.
This church is considered to do miracles, as the Icon is said to have been revealed to a nun's vision. It is said that the Icon is the work of Apostle Luke. Since its revelation, it is believed that it committed many miracles. The Virgin Mary is the patron of the island's Navy, so they are all present on August 15.
The interior of the church is magnificent and the Mass continues until the next day. Inside the church you can see many oblations by the believers and a lot of them are oil candles which have to light during the Mass.
At the same time baptisms take place of Roma people. Their parents will look for god parents outside the church.
Most of the people have visited for the pilgrimage, so they will spend the night in the church or at the yard of the church.
The next day the Icon will move from the church down to the harbor, where a big celebration is set up. Along the way, believers queue to pass below the Icon so that they are blessed. Battleships are floating around the harbor and fire their canons. Politicians usually arrive and make speeches. The place is crowded and people even hang on their balconies to be able to see.