The churches, monasteries and chapels of Spetses are over 100, and the visitor will be amazed.
The monastery of St Nicholas is the Archdiocese of Spetses and St Nicholas its patron saint, as the island’s primary occupants used to be sailors and fishermen. Above the Old Harbour, the grandiose church with the stunning traditional pebble stone courtyard was initially a monastery from 1700. Also, on the 3rd of April, Spetses was the first amongst all Greek islands to revolt against the Ottomans and a ceremonial blessing was held at St Nicholas.
The bell tower of St Nicholas is of architectural significance, as it was built with marble from the island of Tinos in 1805 and is 10m high with a 6m base.
The church of St John in the current parish of Kounoupitsa area was built in 1822 and exclusively funded by Laskarina Bouboulina, the female captain who fought in the Greek War of Independence, who also owned the estate. She was buried in the church courtyard and later her bones were donated to the Spetses Museum upon its opening.
The Greek Church celebrates St John multiple times within the year, but Agios Ioannis in Kounoupitsa is celebrated on the 24th of June.
The Church of Ascension (Analipsi) on the road to Agia Marina is mostly known for the tradition of a burning wooden boat on the Eve of Easter Sunday after the priest chants “Christ Has Risen”, creating a loud and spectacular effect for those with tough stomachs!
The Ascension is celebrated 40 days after Greek Easter and locals and home owners nearby attend the service.
The central church in the Dapia Port, above the pebble-stone path amongst the cafés,is dedicated to St Anthony and is always open for visitors when people walk by on their way to the Bouboulina Museum located above.
It was built in 1815 and in 2015 Agios Antonios Church celebrated its bicentennial.
Built between 1826 and 1830, the small church amongst the pine forest of the Lighthouse area in the Old Harbour is dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the date the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates her birthday. The 8th of September is also the date of the Naval Battle of Spetses when the Spetsiots made the Ottoman fleet flee despite being vastly outnumbered. They dedicated their victory to the Virgin Mary by building the church.
On the first curb from the main port in the direction of the Old Harbour, there is the small, picturesque church of Agios Mamas. It was built by a captain who used grape must instead of water, to thank the Saint for saving his boat with must cargo.
On the 1st of September, on the eve of St Mama’s Day, the children make small paper, plastic or wooden boats lit with candles and let into the sea. At dusk, a majestic sight is created with all the little candlelit boats sailing out into the sea.
On the same day, the horse buggies drive by and are blessed, as St Mamas is the patron saint of all domestic animals and of young children.
The church dedicated to St Anne is high up on the mountain, above the church of Agios Ioannis, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the island. Built around a smaller chapel by the sculptor Vironas Kesse, has Byzantine influences and also hosts one of the island’s cemeteries.
Walking up past the beach of Agia Marina, there is the picturesque church dedicated to Agia Marina that is celebrated in the heart of summer, on July 17th. Archaeological findings in the surrounding area from Early Helladic temples from 3000 bC are exhibited at the Spetses Museum.
Traditionally the churches dedicated to the Prophet Elias are built at the highest point of each area; in Spetses that is at 245m on the top of the pine-filled mountain. Hikers stop to rest and enjoy the panoramic view of the island, the open sea and all of the Argolic coast from Porto Heli to Ermioni. The route to Profitis Elias can be found on the Paths of Culture.
On the top of the mountain, 300m after the Hunters’ Lodge, there is a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and built by the factory owner Dimitrios Daskalakis. It is celebrated on the 1st of September and the hunters of the island attend the service to have a good hunting season.
After the estate of HARA on the mountain top, on the hill of Elona with a view of the West Peloponnesian mountains and amongst the ruins of an old house, there is a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and celebrated on the Friday after Greek Easter when the Spetsiots bring their Easter candles to light during the service and then hold a traditional feast in the yard.
Also known as Elona, the church of Zoodochos Pigi is in Ligoneri area in front of old water springs. It is one of the most gorgeous chapels of the island and is preferred by locals and guests for weddings and christenings.
The church of Agia Paraskevi, on the beach named after it, is considered the most beautiful setting on the island. It is celebrated on the 26th of July and on the eve of its celebration the beach is flooded by campers who spend the night under the starry sky after a traditional feast.
At the entrance to the beach of Anargiri, one of the two churches that name the general area of the uninhabited side of the island, is located. The other one is nearby, overlooking the beach. They are celebrated twice a year: on July 1st and November 1st.
The picture-perfect church of St George in Zogeria is on the edge of the sea surrounded by a pine forest and is one of the most popular choices for weddings. The guests arrive by traditional boats, as the rocky dirt road isn’t easily accessible.
It is celebrated on the 23rd of April, unless it’s during Lent, when it is postponed for Easter Monday.
The magenta coloured church off the central road towards Scholes area is one of the most photographed chapels of the island and always hosts the most intimate services.
Opposite St Nicholas Monastery, an impressive and grandiose church has been built dedicated to the three Spetsiotan Martyrs of the Greek Orthodox Church, who are celebrated on the 3rd of February which is also a local bank holiday.
Recently renovated, the church attracts significant architectural interest because of its imposing domes.
One of the island’s main monasteries has been open since the first half of the 19th century and is also one of the main cemeteries of Spetses.
The nuns farm and make their own local products, while the services of the Holy Week, before Easter, are quite spectacular held with an ethereal devoutness, as the sermon of Resurrection is held within the graveyard.
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is one of the most celebrated days in the Greek Orthodox Church and is celebrated on the 15th of August. On Spetses, the church is in one of the oldest neighbourhoods and far from the main town, in Kastelli. It is one of the oldest and most impressive churches, while it was also burnt down in 1769 as retribution by the Ottomans towards the Spetsiots participation in the Orloff Revolt.