Profitis Ilias Apsilos Festival, Sifnos
The festival takes place in the highest peak of the island, in the monastery of “Prophitis Ilias Apsilos”.
From Firogia, a stone-paved path among bushes leads to “Prophitis Ilias Apsilos”, the highest point of Sifnos (682 meters). The ascent is easy, but it takes many hours to reach the top.
In the center of an interior courtyard lies the temple of Profitis Ilias, which is cruciform with a dome and a narthex as well as an impressive belfry. Around the courtyard, there are cells, a dining room, and auxiliary spaces.
On the eve of the feast, the evening prayer is chanted and “artoklasia” follows. Finally, dinner is offered in the dining space of the old monastery.
The festivals in Sifnos have a tradition of centuries and they are organised on the eve of the day that a church or monastery celebrates. They are visited by many people that chant and pray, but they also cook, eat, drink and celebrate until late at night in the white yards of the churches.
The host of the festival, called “panigiras”, the citizen of Sifnos that has the honor to host the icon of the church in their house for a whole year and they return it the day of the festival. Panigiras undertakes all the expenses of the festival and the care and maintenance of the church.
After the liturgy, the worshipers sit around the “tables of love” to taste “revithada”, olives, veal in tomato sauce with pasta and cod when fasting. They also drink a lot of red wine, which is served in local clay jugs while toasting for the health of “panigiras”.
The celebrators stay until the break of dawn, dancing, and singing. The next morning, after the liturgy, the next “panigiras” takes the sacred icon to transfer it to his house and keep it for a year.