The religious tradition of Syros is characterized by the harmonious coexistence of Orthodox and Catholics throughout the year. It is a peaceful interaction of the two Christian doctrines, which enriches the historical tradition of the island with religious grandeur and freedom of spirit.
Syros is full of Catholic and Orthodox temples, monasteries and chapels. It is a patchwork of sacred devotion, prayer, architectural and artistic uniqueness, freedom of spirit and soul.
The church of Agios Nikolaos (the rich) in the district of Vaporia welcomes in the island and invites you to be part of it. It is the patron saint of the island and the church is characterized by an impressive and imposing architecture that uniquely combines Byzantine and Archaic motifs. The interior of the church is breathtaking with vast dimensions, arches, reliefs and the unique marble iconostasis that it will definitely attract your attention.
On the outskirts of Hermoupolis on the tops of the two opposite hills of Hermoupolis and Ano Syros, the scenery is dominated by Saint George, the Catholic diocese of Syros (also known as “San Tzortzis”) and the orthodox Byzantine temple, the temple of the Resurrection of the Savior dedicated to “Resurrection of the Nation”. These two imposing temples that are standing so high that give the impression that they literally swing between earth and sky, touching the divine. On the Orthodox Holy Friday, the procession of the catholic epitaph takes place in “San Tzortzis” temple.
The sacred tour in Hermoupolis and Ano Syros ends with a visit to the first temple of the island, the Orthodox Metropolitan Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (1824) and the orthodox church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary or the so-called “Panagia ton Psarianon”. There you can admire an authentic work of Dominikos Theotokopoulos, the homonymous icon of the Assumption of Virgin Mary.
If you want to experience the holiness of the countryside in one of the most enchanting places on the island, then you have to visit the Catholic chapel of Agios Stefanos in Galissas area. It is built among the rocks and it is said to be a fisherman’s votive offering as an expression of gratitude to the Saint that has saved him from the tentacles of a huge octopus. Really amazing!
Other unique places are the church of Agia Thekla in Mega Gialos, the Catholic church of Agios Petros in Posidonia, the Catholic chapel of Agia Pakou in Galissas, the orthodox temple of Prophet Elias in Episkopi (where the writer Ilias Venizis was married), the Orthodox Convent of Agia Varvara in Kini, with its famous exhibition of handmade carpets. Here, history, tradition, art and devotion coexist in the incomparably beautiful landscape and invite you all year round to watch and join this sacred mystery.
When you are in the countryside of Syros in sacred Orthodox and Catholic temples, monasteries and chapels, you feel that time stops and communication with the holiness and the divine takes on flesh, satisfying all the needs of the soul and human existence.
No matter the season or how many times you have visited the island, Syros makes you feel the same astonishment and enthusiasm as if it’s the very first time you have been on this island!