The Monastery of Panagia Soumela, the undisputed spiritual center of Pontic Hellenism, is located on the slopes of Vermio, near the village of Kastania.
History, tradition and legend come together in the famous and sacred symbol of Pontus, Panagia Sumela. Tradition tells that the Evangelist Luke carved the figure of the Virgin Mary on wood.
The famous monastery was founded at the end of the 4th century (380-386) on Mount Mela in Trebizond, the monastery of Panagia Sumela, by the monks Varnavas and Sophronio. With unique resources of faith, perseverance and hard work, the two hermit monks managed to build the church of Soumeliotissa, carved into the mountain. The monastery became known as Panagia Sumela (corruption: ei to Mela-sto Mela-Sumela).
Until 1922, he was the guide, the comforter, the supporter, the refuge and the animator of the Greek Pontians. It was also one of the most important factors in the preservation of the Greek language and identity, as well as the revival of the national and religious consciousness of the faithful.
After the Asia Minor disaster and the uprooting, the Soumeliotissa monastery was deserted. With the exchange, the holy relics were provided, and in 1931 they were exhumed and brought to Greece by Ambrosios Soumeliotis, following the actions of Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos towards the Turkish government of Ismed Inonou.
From 1952, the Greek history of Panagia Soumela begins as in 1951-1952 the construction of the Monastery began.
Since 1952 when the small church was built, the icon of the Virgin has been enthroned on its new throne.
Thanks to the piety and piety of the Pontians and Philopontians, various buildings were created in the monastic complex. The administration of Panagia Soumela took care of the creation of a museum collection consisting of sacred utensils, icons and vestments, as well as the creation of a remarkable library.
Today the building complex includes two temples, ten guesthouses with 620 beds, a restaurant, two tourist kiosks, taps, telephones, electric light, parking spaces, a square, hundreds of ornamental and fruit trees.
Every year, on the three days of the fifteenth of August, the influx of thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country and abroad is unprecedented. The procession of the Icon, inside the holy pilgrimage site, is done with Byzantine splendor and according to the Orthodox Tradition and is one of the most moving and overwhelming sequences.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou