The best picture for anyone who comes for the first time in Corfu is from the ship which, as if deliberately, comes in a slow pace to give you the opportunity to take a good look of the great medie
Date of celebration: Ascension (movable feast)
Festival: One the eve (and the day) of the Ascension
Panagia Chryssopigi is the patron saint of the island since 1964. Its church is located on a rock in the sea, cape Petalos, opposite the harbour of Faros. This rock is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel and communicates with a bridge. The channel is related to one of the legendary miracles of the Virgin Mary. In the evenings, tradition has it, the women used to light the candles of the Virgin Mary. Once, however, as soon as they entered the church, they realized they were not alone. Down on the floor was asleep a boatload of pirates. Defying the risk, they slipped skilfully among the asleep, lit the candles and censer, but while leaving a pirate awakened by the smell of incense, woke the others and they all started hunting them in a bad mood. So, while the women ran out of the church to escape, the Virgin Mary intervened, tore up the rock, the pirates did not have time to pass through and the women were saved.
The original church was built in 1650 by Nikolaos Pitzinis on the foundations of an older temple. The name of that small church was Panagia to Komma and was due to the cut rock. Twenty five years later, it was destroyed and rebuilt bigger by the priest Ieronymos Zambelis – Roussos. In 1760 his descendants sold it to the monastery of Vryssiani, a dependency of which remains until today.
The name Panagia Chryssopigi is due to a monk named Parthenios Chairetis, vicar of the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos Mongou, who recorded in 1677 all the miracles of the Virgin (from defences of epidemics to insecticides). He was Cretan and named it Chryssopigi in memory of the monastery of Chryssopigi at Chania, where he had been an ascetic before coming to Sifnos.
Although dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi, the church celebrates on the Ascension Day because in 1676, on the day of the Ascension, it saved the island from a plague epidemic that had already wiped out 100 people. The festival starts the day before, when the icon comes by vessel, continues with the Holy Mass as well as sanctification in the marble basin located behind the church and ends up in the evening with a banquet followed by partying till dawn. On the day of the Ascension the icon moves in procession around the villages of the island and finally ends for one year in the parish church of the new responsible for the festival (not in his house, as is the case with the other icons).
In front of the church of Chryssopigi, to the left and right, are situated two cells which for Sifnians have a great sentimental value. The left was used by the poet Aristomenis Provelengios to pass his vacation and write, the right by the famous rhymester Antonios Dekavallas.
This is a small secluded pebble beach next to Chryssopighi, for those who prefer the anonymity... or fishing – it is considered a good fishing spot.
On a small hill, southwest of Platys Gialos, is to be found one of the best preserved ancient towers of the island, the so-called White Tower. East of the tower there are galleries of an ancient gold mine.
Features: Fine sand, shallow waters
This is a sandy beach southeast of Faros. In the sea, it has mostly pebbles and sand in places only. A couple of large trees provide shade and a tavern everything else one needs.
Near the Faros village, on the one side of the bay, lies the Monastery of Stavros (Cross).
It was the port of the island until 1883, having as a natural breakwater the rock of Panagia Chryssopigi. It owes its name to the lighthouse on one side of the bay, where lies also the Monastery of Stavros (Cross).