On the way to visit Panormitis monastery, you can explore the inaccessible west coast of Symi with unnamed inlets with cliffs. Agios Vasilios beach is an idyllic spot for lunch. Offer a pebbly beach with a few cypress trees, hemmed in by rocky cliffs. Panormitis Bay is a large natural picturesque harbour so calm that it reminds a lake. The scenery around the monastery is quiet and serene.
For sure you will find the architecture and imposing nature of the setting it is just amazing. The main church of Symi island it is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Therefore Panormitis is a holy monastery visited daily by many orthodox Greeks and also non-orthodox believers. It is renowned for many miracles consequently pilgrims pray here for health, protection and fertility.
We know Archangel Michael in all religions as commands legions of guardian angels because serving on the first ray of protection, faith and the will of God. In Greece is called of Taxiarchis Michail Panormitis. Finally on Symi is considered not only the island’s patron saint but also the guardian of sailors Dodecanese area.
Panormitis Monastery and the church
The monastery is a large 18th-century Venetian-styled building with the highest baroque bell tower in the world. The facade stretches along the coast on either side of the main gateway was constructed by Italians after the second world war. Once inside the monastery main gate, visitors are welcomed by an inner courtyard decorated with exotic trees and plants and paved with ‘hokhlakia’.
You will enter the church dedicated to Archangel Michael on the left side. Here you can admire the two-metre-high, silver-leafed wall icon. One story is that this icon appeared miraculously and, on several occasions, was removed only to reappear mysteriously in this same location.
Iconography is covering the entire church. Do not miss the particular mural ‘fall of the angels’ at the back of the church. We do not know the exact historical date of the construction of this church. For certainty, the existing church underwent a significant renovation in the 18th century to bring it to the standard that is in existence today.
Tips for the visit Panormitis Monastery
The entrance to the monastery is free of charge. But there is also a fascinating two-part museum that costs 3 euro entrance fee. One houses ecclesiastical art and is rich in exhibits like pontificals, silver icons, Russian epitaphs, and ecclesiastical utensils, ship model. These are offerings brought to Panormitis from far away by the sea. The second one is folk art with important objects of the folk culture relevant to fishing, agriculture, and shepherding.
There is also a library with Byzantine manuscripts with editions of religious, historical, and philological content. As well as a gallery with paintings of the landscape of the monastery and its two chapels.
Get a walk around the higher level to enjoy excellent views of the picturesque bell tower and surrounding scenery.
We suggest you visit Panormitis Monastery quite early in the morning. Or maybe in the late afternoon to avoid the large groups coming at noon time. You’ll enjoy a calm and ascetic atmosphere inside this monastery.
You should wear longer shorts and short sleeved tops to show respect to the sanctity of the church.