The Kamariotissa church lies right near the harbour, on one of the streets behind the promenade. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary and it's famous for the Panagia Kamariotissa icon, after which the settlement was named.
The Panagia Kamariotissa Church
The legend of Panagia Kamariotissa
As at Panagia Krimniotissa, here too there is a legend. It happened some time long ago, around the 9th century, during the iconoclastic period. Some fishermen called Lambros, Paul and his younger brother Raxi saw a light in the water while they were arranging their fishing nets on the shore of the small gulf where the harbor was built later. As the time went by the glow was brighter and brighter and came closer to the shore, while the fishermen became more and more curious. They couldn't find an explanation and they didn't see any object in the water, so they decided to take their boats and go solve the mistery. So they did and in the waves they found a silver box and in the box an icon bearing the inscription “Panagia Kamariotissa” (according to the tradition, the icon comes from Kamares village – nowadays Kemer, at the Marmara Sea). In order to protect it, the fishermen first want to put the icon in a house, but no house seemed worthy of it. Then they decided to build a chapel 40 steps away from the place where they brought the icon to the shore. The ruins of an old church still existed there and they put an oil candle to permanently burn in front of the miraculous icon.
Legend or not, it is for sure that in the 70s, when a new building was erected instead of the church of 1837, the ruins of the foundation of an old Christian basilica were found. The basilica was built in the V-VI centuries and it was repaired during the Byzantine period. Nowadays its ruins don't exist anymore.
The feast of Panagia Kamariotissa
The icon of Panagia Kamariotissa is considered to be protecting the settlement and the island, keeping the people out of illness and danger. Every year, on the first Thursday after the Easter (the Bright Thursday), which is, according to the tradition, the day when the three fishermen put the icon on the place where the church was built later, the inhabitants of the island take part in the great celebration of Kamariotissa.