Significant Holidays and Feasts in Cephalonia
are two feasts in honor of St. Vasilios on January 1st; one in St.
Vasilios Church in Kerameies and another at Koronato Convent in
Lixouri. The Metropolitan officiates at the Vespers the previous
night and the ceremony of cutting the "Vasilopita", in
the presence of officials and representatives of the Vallianion
Foundation. A vigil in honor of the Saint is held at Koronato Convent
on the eve of the holiday. Divine Liturgy is performed in both churches
on St. Vasilios Day.
The celebrations on Epiphany are indeed grand and they center around
the Church of Theotokos Sissiotissa by the DeBosset Bridge in Argostoli.
The Metropolitan officiates in the blessing of the water in the
church which is followed by the dipping of the Holy Cross from the
Bridge into Argostoli Bay. The event is attended by island officials.
The ceremeny is repeated from the ferry boat in Lixouri harbor in
the presence of the Palliki congregation. The ceremonies close with
the blessing of the waters of the well in Lixouri Square.
St. Athanasios and St. Cyrillus Day on January 18th are celebrated
in the Church in their honor in the village of Agia Irini.
St. Efthimios Day on January 20th is celebrated in Havriata.
Gregorios Theologos is celebrated on January 25th in the church
in his honor in Platies.
In February, Ypapanti Day is celebrated with a grand feast in the
village of Zola which is officiated by the Metropolitan of Cephalonia.
On the previous evening, the Metropolitan officiates during the
Vespers at St. Nickolas Church in Argostoli, where an icon - heirloom
of the Gerakis Family - is kept. There are other churches that celebrate
on this day throughout the island, such as the Church in Ano Meria
February 5th, St. Agathi's Day, is celebrated at Koronato Convent.
The celebration includes a vigil and memorial service in memory
of nun and later Mother Superior Agathi Megalogenous who was the
February 10th, St. Haralambos Day, is celebrated in the chapel
of the Holy Metropolis and in St. Haralambos Church in Lixouri.
His Name Day is especially celebrated in Lixouri as He is the town's
and Palliki's Patron Saint. The celebrations are completed with
a litany of St. Haralambos icon through the streets of Lixouri.
For years now the celebration is attended by the Chrysostomos, Metropolitan
of Mythimni as a guest of the Metropolitan of Cephalonia.
February 11th, St. Vlasios the Martyr Day, is celebrated in His
Church in Dematorata - Lixouri.
March, the celebration of The Forty Sainted Martyrs is held in the
church in their honor in the village of St. Nickolaos village of
Pyrgi. This feast is attended by the Metropolitan every year.
On March 25th, the main celebrations take place in the Metropolis
Cathedral in Argostoli, while there are a number of other celebrations
in other villages - such as the Church of Evangelistria in Faraklata.
The Metropolis Cathedral celebrations include events in honor for
Independence Day which coincides with the Evangelismos holiday.
A litany is held in Faraklata during the afternoon in which the
Holy Icon procession passes through town streets. A special memorial
service is held at the grave of the late Polykarpos, Metropolitan
of Kerkyra and Paxoi, who passed away in this location while serving
as Overseer of the Holy Metropolis of Cephalonia.
Evangelismos Day is also celebrated in Pessada with Vespers and
There are many churches and chapels throughout Cephalonia in honor
of St. Georgios Tropaioforos. Especially worth noting are the St.
Georgios celebrations in Davgata, Skala and Haliotata (at the family
chapel of Father Anastasios Spathis
St. Christoforos Day in May is celebrated in Farsa with a litany
through the village, and in the Mouikis family chapel in Lakithra.
Constantine and Eleni are celebrated on May 21st in Karavados. The
Metropolitan officiates at Vespers the previous evening. On May
21st he officiates at the Metropolis Cathedral in Argostoli as the
celebration coincides with the anniversary of the Union of the Ionian
Islands with Greece, resulting in a multitude of official events
and functions to be attended.
During the month of June, we must note the celebrations for St.
Genessios Prodromos at Fokata, Tzanata and at St. Thomas - Karavados.
In recent years, magnificent feasts are held on June 29th in honor
of the Sainted in Glory Apostles Peter and Paul. The epicenter of
the celebrations is St. Paul the Apostle's church in Pessada. The
celebration is significant in light of the ever widening acceptance
of the theory that identifies Cephalonia as Meliti. According to
Praxeis, St. Paul was shipwrecked on Meliti during his journey from
Palestine in 57 AD, when he was being transferred to Rome to stand
trial. The theory proposes that based on Praxeis descriptions,
Cephalonia is the island of Meliti nad not Malta as it was previously
believed. More information on this topic is provided on the relevant
web page of this site.
On the same day, celebrations are held in St. Peter's Church in
Valerianos village and the Twelve Apostles Church in Havdata.
is also full of celbrations and feasts in Cephalonia. On the day
of Deposit of theTheotokos' Sacred Belt, the devout are taken by
boat to the tiny Dias Island on a pilgrimage to the Icon of Theotokos
July 7th, St. Kyriaki Day is celebrated in the villages of Xenopoulo,
Prokopata and Michata. The next day, July 8th, a celebration in
honor of St. Prokopios is held in Kambitsata.
July 11th, St. Efimia Day, is celebrated in grandeur in Cephalonia
and especially in the town of Agia Efimia. The Metropolitan of Cephalonia
officiates at Vespers, Divine Liturgy and the Litany of the Holy
Icon. The Metropolitan also attends a festive dinner given at his
home by Reverend Ierotheos Amitsis, Abbot of the Theotokos Monastery
An excellent feast in held on July 17th in the village of Vlahata
in honor of St. Marina the Great Martyr. The Vespers and the Divine
Liturgy are officiated by the Metropolitan of Cephalonia.
July 20th , Profitis Elias Day, celebrations take place in the churches
at Razata, Agrapidia, Omala and Kaminarata - Lixouri. The Metropolitan
officiates at the liturgy in Kaminarata.
The feast for St. Anna in Lakithra is especially magnificent,officiated
by the Metropolitan and attended by a large congregation of the
devout. Other celebrations on this day are held at St. Efpraxia
of tzanata village and St. Anna Church in Lepeda
The celebrations of July are completed with feasts for St. Paraskevi
(July 26th) in Xerizomeno-Troianata, Atheras, Metaxata, Mesovounia,
Lepeda and the chapel at Faraklata. St. Panteleimon is celebrated
in Poulata, Kontogourata and Loukerata.
The peak of the summer period and the so-called religious tourism
for the island of Cephalonia, comes in August. The first 15 days
of the month are dedicated to Theotokos, culminating on the 15th
on which day the Dormition is celebrated. Christians refer to this
period as the "Easter of Summer".Within this period, and
specifically on August 6th, the Trasfiguration of Christ is celebrated
with all due honors in Travliata, Poros and Lixouri.
the eve of the Trasfiguration, the Metropolitan officiates at the
Vespers at Travliata in the presence of many devout who later gather
in the courtyard of the spiritual center to celebrate the holiday.
On the day of the Trasfiguration, the Metropolitan officiates at
the liturgy held in the Church of the trasfiguration in Poros.
During the two weeks leading to the Dormition, The Theotokos Special
Prayers are chanted in all churches throughout the island. The Metropolitan
officiates daily at two different churches within his Metropolitan
District throughout this period.
August 11th is the sad anniversary of the 1953 earthquakes. Also
commemorated on this day is the miracle of Spyridon that took place
On the previous evening, Vesper services are held in St. Spyridon
Church in Argostoli to commemorate both events. On the anniversary
itself a memorial service is held for the souls of all those who
tragically lost their lives in the earthquakes. In the evening,
a mass attended litany of St. Spyridon's icon takes place through
the town and the special prayer is repeated. The Metropolitan is
present in all these events, officiating and preaching.
Dormition Day on August 15th is celebrated with splendor and magnificance.
Feasts are held in Markopoulo and Arginia (the two locations where
the small snakes called "Fidakia tis Panagias" appear)
attracting large numbers of devout Christians. Feasts are also held
at the churches in Theotokos' honor in : Peratata, Simotata, Metaxata,
Damoulianata, Kardakata, Lakithra, Digaleto, Koronato Convent and
Agrilia Monastery. Night vigils are held at the last two.
thus come to the great day, the most significant day for Cephalonia
and all Cephalonians living on the island or abroad: St. Gerasimos
Dormition Day. St Gerasimos actually died on August 15th of 1579,
the Dormition of Theotokos Day. As a result, the celebration of
his memory was moved to the next day August 16th.
On the afternoon of the 15th , St. Gerasimos' Sacred Relic is moved
in a litany procession from the older church that lies over his
grave, amidst truly emotional and touching reactions from the devout
who express their faith in God and their respect for St. Gerasimos.
The Sacred Relic is placed in a specially prepared place within
the magnificent new church. Small Vespers begin and the devout start
to pay respects from about 6pm until noon of the next day.
An Archieratic Liturgy is held on Saint Gerasimos Day followed
by a Litany which is attended by clergy, nuns, monks, officials
and thousands of Christians. The procession, which is accompanied
by bands, an army honor corp, and boy scouts, ends up at the large
plane tree when a prayer is chanted. The Metropolitan delivers a
speech and the procession returns to the church where the public
continues to worship the Sacred Relic. The Saint's Sacred Relic
is returned to the smaller church and placed back in the larnax
in the afternoon. A reception complete with an official dinner is
given afterwards in the Convent's spacious Hall.
the evening a special event in honor of Saint Gerasimos takes place
in Argostoli. First, there is a litany of his icon throughout the
town's streets which ends up at the main square. A special prayer
is said and the Metropolitan addresses the cogregation.
Cephalonia is one of the places through which St. Kosmas the Aetolean
passed on his preaching journeys. He was well received by Cephalonians
and preached in several towns and villages on the island, always
leaving behind a Holy Cross to commemorate his passage from a particular
place. Saint Kosmas Day is celebrated on August 24th. . The main
celebration takes place in Assos and is officiated by the Metropolitan.
A Litany of the Holy Cross and St. Kosmas' icon through town, is
followed by an official dinner. St. Kosmas the Aetolean's memory
is also celebrated at Agrilia Monastery, Evangelistria Church in
Faraklata, and other island churches.
August 27th, St. Fanourios Day, is a day of special celebrations
on the island. The main celebration takes place at Theotokos Sissiotissa
in the presence of the clergy and the Metropolitan.
29th, St. John the Baptist day, is celebrated in Karavomylos, Dilinata
where the celbrations include a vigil, and at Ratzakli.
Saint Anthimos Kourouklis, Patron of Astypalaia, is celebrated
on September 4th at St. Gerasimos protectorate church at Lepeda
(at the site of His grave). The celebration is always attended by
the nuns of the Convents of Saint Gerasimos, St. Andrew and Koronato.
The Holy Virgin's (Theotokos) Birthday is celebrated on September
8th at Paleohersou Monastery in Erissos. The celebration is always
attended by the Metropolitan and a large congregation from all over
the island. The Paleohersou Monastery Complex is closely identified
with the devout clergymen - the Sklavounos brothers - Reverend Nektarios
and Reverend Panagis, who for a number of years now perform pastoral
duties for the entire Erissos district. Divine Liturgy is followed
by a Litany of the Holy Icon. The celebrations are concluded at
a dinner given in the Monastery . Paleohersou Monastery has a 20
bed capacity guest house that provides free boarding for a day or
two for those who wish to visit. Anyone interested in staying at
the guest house should contact the two aforementioned clergymen
On September 14th, Holy Cross Day, celebrations take place in two
of Cephalonia's historic Monasteries: Kipouria and Estavromenos
Kipouria Monastery, Vespers are chanted from 9 pm the previous evening
till 2 am on Holy Cross Day. After Matins and the Doxoloxy, the
Raising of the Holy Cross is performed in the Church courtyard.
The ceremonies are attended by hundreds of devout Christians, especially
from the Palliki district. After the Cross Raising Ceremony, the
Metropolitan departs and Divine Liturgy continues in the church.
A similar celebration takes place in Estavromenos of Pessada where
the Liturgy is officiated by the Metropolitan.
Theotokos Myrtidiotissa, whose base of worship in Greece is the
island of Kythera, is also honored in Cephalonia at Drepano Church
where the Sacred Icon is kept. Theotokos Drepaniotissa is the Patron
of Argostoli. For this reason the ceremonies in her honor are organized
by the Municipality of Argostoli. Vespers and Divine Liturgy are
officiated by the Metropolitan of Cephalonia in the presence of
the municipal officials. A litany takes place in the afternoon.
The procession moves through the streets of Argostoli, a prayer
is said at the town main square and the the icon is then taken to
St. Spyridon Church. It is customary for the icon to remain in this
church for one week during which Vespers and Divine Liturgy are
held. At the end of the week, the icon is returned, once again by
procession, to Drepano Church. This holiday is also celebrated in
St. Thekla village in Lixouri.
September 26th is St. John Theologos Day - celebrated in Sarlata,
Razata and Kontogenada.
October, everything revolves around the commemoration of the Restitution
of St. Gerasimos' Sacred Relic on the 20th of the month. The ceremonies
take place at Saint Gerasimos Convent at Omala. The ceremony schedule
of August 16th is repeated once again with the participation of
clergy, the nuns and many officials. Small Vespers is followed by
a dinner given at the Convent Hall for the clergy and the officials.
The ceremonies proceed with Great Vespers and Matins officiated
by the Metropolitan. The Saint's Praises are chanted. Around 1 am,
followed by the Divine Liturgy. The Metropolitan departs around
2 am. On October 20th, an Archieratic Liturgy and Litany of the
Sacred Relic take place.. Literally thousands of Christians come
to pay their respect to Saint Gerasimos during the two days. At
the conclusion of the ceremonies, the Sacred Relic is taken back
to the smaller church and placed in its larnax.
A celebration is also held on this day in St. Gerasimos Church
in Lixouri where the Saint's Icon is litanized through the town
in the afternoon. A prayer is said at the main square and the Metropolitan
addresses the congregation and the officials.
Dimitrios Day on October 26th is celebrated at Saint Gerasimos Convent
as it coincides with the Restoration of Saint Gerasimos' Day celebrations.
Also celebrating in Dimitrios' honor are the churches in Troianata
The holiday that truly touches the souls of Christians in November
is that of the Theotokos Entrance on November 21st. Two grand celebrations
take place: one in Theotokos Sissiotissa (Argostoli), and the other
in Skineas village (Lixouri).
The Metropolitan of Cephalonia participates in both celebrations
(which are held at different times) where he delivers a sermon.
Vespers at Sissiotissa are scheduled between 7:30 and 9:00 pm while
in Skineas from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am. The Metropolitan officiates
at Matins and Doxology and departs while the Liturgy is in progress.
He officiates the Divine Liturgy at Sissiotissa Church.
The Gathering of Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all Heavenly
Powers is celebrated on November 8th at the Agioi Taxiarches Churches
of Argostoli, Valsamata and Llixouri.
St. Nektarios is celebrated with festive Vespers and Archieratic
Liturgy on November 9th at St. Nickolaos Church in Argostoli where
a throne is dedicated to the Saint. Another celebration with Vigil
is held at St. Nektarios Chapel at Koronato Convent.
St. John Chrysostomos is honored on November 13th in Kourouklata.
November holiday calendar is sealed with the holiday in honor of
Saint Andrew the Apostle on November 30th. The ceremonial activities
center around St. Andrew Convent in Milapidia. The Metropolitan
officiates the Archieratic Vespers which are followed by a Vigil.
The Archieratic Liturgy is attended by clergy from different parts
of the island, representatives of the other Convents and Monasteries
and island officials. The Liturgy is followed by a Litany and a
dinner at the Convent Hall.
During December, the last month of the year, the following holidays
St. Barbara is honored on December 4th with Vespers officiated by
the Metropolitan at the cave-like tiny church near Argostoli. The
Metropolitan, upholding the family tradition, has decreed a Vigil
until 2 am at the old chapel at St. Andrew's Convent. A celebration
in St. Barbara's honor is also held at Prokopata village.
St. Nickolaos is honored on December 6th. Vespers and Divine Liturgy
are officiated by the Metropolitan at St. Nickolaos Church in Argostoli.
This is a significant celebration because it is also the official
celebration day of seamen, the Navy, the Merchant Marine, the Coast
guard and the Merchant Marine Academy of Cephalonia. St. Nickolaos
is also celebrated in Livathinata (Lixouri) and in Faraklata.
St. Spyridon Day on December 15th is a special celebration for
the Metropolitan of Cephalonia who bears the Saint's name. The Metropolitan
officiates at Vespers and Divine Liturgy at St. Spyridon Church
in Argostoli. During the day, he receives the clergy, nuns, monks,
island officials, students and the public who visit to express their
good wishes. St. Spyridon Day is also celebrated at the Cave in
Eleftherios Day on December 15th is celebrated in the church in
his honor in Argostoli. The Metropolitan of Cephalonia, Spyridon
officiates at Vespers and Divine Liturgy. St. Eleftherios is also
honored at the chapel of St. Eleftherios of Valsamata at the location
"Groudi" (Mt. Aenos). There is a chapel belonging to St.
Dionysios Church of Strofades in the village of Chionata, which
celebrates St. Dionysios Day every year in the presence of the Metropolitan
of Cephalonia.. As for December 25th, it is perhaps unnecessary
to go into detailed description. Suffice it to say that Christmas
is celebrated on every corner of the island, from one end to the
other. The Metropolitan's Address is read in every church. However,
it is worth noting that Early Christmas Liturgy that is held at
5 am all over Greece, here in Cephalonia as well as the rest of
the Ionian Islands, it is held at 8am following a local custom.
Finally, St. Stefanos Day is celebrated on December 27th at Minies
and Agia Irini villages.
We deemed necessary to record all this on our web pages so that
the devout may have knowledge pertaining to events taking place
on our island in Glory of God and in honor of His Saints and His
Holy and Sacred Church.