Agia Marina Island
Nestled in the embrace of the Ionian Sea, between the islands of Sapienza and Schiza, lies the sacred island of Agia Maria. Accessible only by boat, this uninhabited island captivates the hearts of those seeking peacefulness, privacy and seclusion from the mainland. The journey across the glistening waters reveals Agia Maria's rugged charm, surrounded by rocky shores adorned with small shrubs, lush fauna, and ancient trees that have weathered the passage of time.
The heart of Agia Maria beats within the walls of its sole sanctuary, the Agia Marina Church. On the sacred day of July 17, the Orthodox Church commemorates the feast day of Agia Marina. According to the teachings of the church:
Agia Marina, born in Pisidian Antioch to pagan parents, encountered Christianity at the age of twelve, developing an ardent love for Jesus Christ. Despite her father's disdain for her faith, Marina vowed to remain unmarried and expressed a
desire to suffer for Christ. When the imperial deputy, Olymbrius, sought her as a wife and she refused, he subjected her to severe ridicule and torture. Marina's steadfast refusal to bow before idols led to her imprisonment, where she prayed fervently and experienced divine interventions, including the healing of her wounds. Despite further tortures with fire and water, she miraculously survived without blemish. Moments before she was subjected to a beheading, Jesus and a sea of angels appeared before her to give her strength, courage and the reassurance of eternal life. The most significant theme in Agia Marina´s story is her unwavering faith and resilience in the face of persecution, epitomizing the
triumph of spiritual strength over physical suffering and death. Today, her hand is preserved and venerated in the monastery of Vatopedi, on Mount Athos.
Every year, on July 17th, both locals and tourists embark on a maritime pilgrimage, navigating the crystalline waters to reach the island´s small jetty. As boats drop anchor, an air of anticipation envelopes the island, and the visitors gather within the whitewashed walls of the church for a solemn yet joyous service dedicated to Agia Marina. The sacred chants echo through the rocky landscape, blending with the rhythmic harmony of the waves, creating an mystical ambiance that transcends across the island.
Following the religious ceremonies, Agia Maria transforms into a lively tapestry of celebration. Pilgrims and visitors alike partake in a communal feast, sharing traditional Greek delicacies under the open sky. Laughter mingles with the clinking of glasses, and as the sun dips below the horizon, the island comes alive with the exuberance of dancing. The rugged terrain of Agia Maria becomes a natural dance floor, illuminated by the warm glow of the horizon and the emerging moonlight reflecting off the sea. The festivities continue into the late hours of the night, forging a sense of solidarity among the celebrants. As the last notes of the music fade away, the participants once again embark on their boats, carrying with them the memories of a night where spirituality, joy and friendships intertwined on this tiny island of Agia Marina.
The best way to visit the island of Agia Marina is to hire a boat from Methoni Boats. During peak summer season (July - August), it is recommended you reserve a boat several days before your intended trip. Contact details are as follows: