Miracles of Kefalonia

Miracles In Markopoulo

Situated in the village of Markopoulo 25 kms from Argostoli on the road to Poros, the church of the Virgin Mary houses the miraculous Virgin’s icon, known as ‘Lagouvarda’.
The church was built on the site of the old Virgin’s Monastery which was destroyed by the Turks. According to local folklore, in 1705 when Markopoulo was invaded by the pirates of Barbarossa, as they approached the convent terrified nuns begged the Virgin to turn them into snakes to avoid capture. Accordingly, the nuns’ prayers were answered and the miracle took place. When the pirates entered the monastery they were surprised to find the walls and icons crawling with snakes.
According to local tradition the snakes return at the same time and place every year between the 6th and 15th August. The snakes have four dots on their head in the shape of a cross and are harmless to humans although they do kill small lizards. The snakes, whose species is known to be the telescopus fallax, otherwise known as the European cat snake, emerge from the foundation of the old bell tower and crawl into the church. The snakes are called the Fidakia Tis Panagias and locals say these miraculous snakes visit the venerated Virgin’s icon in continuous remembrance of the miracle, proving the continued presence of the Virgin and Her protection to all devout worshipers

Feast Of The Virgin In Markopoulo

The feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary falls on the 15th August. Each year on the evening before, stalls are set up around the church to mark the beginning of the festival. The next day, 15th August, there are services in the church where the snakes appear and are handled by the congregation who flock to see the miracle of the snakes of the Theotokos
When the festivities are over the snakes disappear only to return at the same time the following year.It is generally believed that the appearance of the snakes is a good omen. Apparently, the snakes did not appear in 1940 and the following year Greece was invaded by the Axis Forces nor did they appear during the occupation. There were no snakes in August 1953, which was the year of the catastrophic earthquake.

The main Argostoli to Poros road gets totally blocked with traffic during the festivities and the only other route to the church is the uphill road from Katelios village.

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