Agia Paraskevi village, Lesbos Island
SEP to JUL Fri morning.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Agia Paraskevi or Ayia Paraskevi village, located in the central part of Lesbos island, is named after the Church of Agia Paraskevi. Actually there are numerous Agia Paraskevi in Greece, there is another village of the same name which is s suburb of Athens, and of course there are many other churches dedicated to the same Saint. There is even a cave of the same name on Crete.
The church Agia Paraskevi is a cave church, located at the northern side of the village. From the entrance there is a nice view on the village below. The cave contains a well which is blessed by the Virgin Mary, drinking the water from this well is said to bring her protection. Before the construction of the Christian church this was probably the site of a pagan temple. According to Kostas Makistos it was probably an Asclepieion, a sanctuary for the god of medicine and healing, Asclepius. In front of the cave the remains of at least two Christian Basilicas can be found, so the site was occupied by Christian church since Byzantine times. Nevertheless some rituals seem to originate from the ancient Greek. On Easter Thursday and Friday a festivity is held to the honor Saint Paraskevi. A bull is being sacrificed and locals prepare the traditional “keskets” which is then offered to the congregation. The cave church is artificial and rather small, dug into the soft rock. Sometimes it is called a chapel, sometimes a hermitage, and sometimes a cave monastery.