The Holy Island of Skiathos
When visiting Greece you will notice churches everywhere you go, from small road-side temples to vast old churches and monasteries. Even though Greece and the Orthodox church was suppressed by the Ottoman empire for 400 years, the Greeks were teaching their children of the Holy Spirit in silence and in hidden churches.
Skiathos was also suppressed, the Greek language was not allowed as well as Christianity. Today about 170 churches can be found on the Island of Skiathos. Some small, some big, some pictures some completely hidden away from your eye. Even though the island is only 17km long and 5km wide, still today you can find a church and every single spot on the Island. No matter where you travel on the island you will always have a church within 1.000 meters of walking distance.
The churches in Skiathos had many different means of usage through the years.
From schools to shelters to holy places for prayer. Before electricity came to Skiathos the churches were used as away coordinating around the Island. For many farmers, it could be a much needed resting place and shelter in case of bad weather or exhaustion. Many of the churches have a small chamber with a bed, as well as a clean water well nearby. As thanks for the protection of the Holy Mother Maria, a prayer was made and a candle lid, so that you could always find the church even in the dark night. Most lamps were running on olive oil, so most farmers and herders were carrying olive oil and refilled the lamps each time they passed a church.
New churches were built in places of „dark energy“.
In many cases, new churches were built in places of „dark energy“ to protect the locals on their travels. Thousands of legends of experiences have been passed through generations and to fight the dark powers at hand, the locals would build a church in honor of the Saint that saved them on the day they were „attacked“ by dark and evil spirits.
You might think that 170 churches are a bit overboard, but compared to Skopelos and ist 364 churches, Skiathos is still very modest in it Spiritual connection to the higher powers. If you pass by a small church, don’t be afraid to open a candle and say grace. In all holy churches and temples, a candle should burn at all time representing the holy spirit protecting the citizens and visitors on Skiathos.