The “Welcome” of Panagia Odigetria

This day in historic Oichalia is waited for all year round, it is the welcome of Panagia… it is the meeting of strangers, it is their own meeting, it is Happy Birthday and the wish for a good Panagia!

On August 14 every year at daybreak, Oichaliotes everywhere have a dream to find themselves in the welcome of Panagia Odigetria, our own Panagia who, according to tradition, was found by hunters from the villages of Achladochori, Oichalia and Koutsikovo, and they share the time of the image’s stay according to the number of the hunters who came from each village.

The priest of Achladochori accompanies her to the church of Krini, where she is placed in the sanctuary and the faithful will pass by to greet their Virgin Mary. A procession follows to Krini and the village priest delivers the icon accompanied by believers at the border with Oichalia to Agios Athanasios to the priest of Oichalia who is waiting for the Virgin outside the church, after the prayer the procession takes its way to Oichalia where the whole village is waiting for her, there after a short stop the faithful form a procession and accompanying the icon to the village Church where it is installed until the second day of Easter when it will follow the reverse route.

During the procession, the image is carried by the inhabitants of Achladochori, Krini and Oichalia from shoulder to shoulder, representing the Hunters of that time who carried the image one after the other to the plain.

Lucky will be the one who will be in Oichalia on the day of Panagia, the villagers will reciprocate, they will exchange wishes there in the past (bride selection and consular affairs) and even transactions, there was no way that the villagers of the three villages would not reciprocate Panagia of the region and beyond. There is also the wish that will accompany us all year Happy Birthday and good Virgin Mary!