Punctually on the great feast of the Dormition day of Virgin Mary, the miracle snakes of Panagia Fidousa made their annual appearance again in a church on the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea.
The church Panagia Langouvarda on the site of an old monastery by Markopoulos village has a silver icon of Panagia Fidousa – Virgin Mary of the Snakes. And here is the area where snakes believed to have miracle powers roam freely around.
The small black and white snakes have the sign of a cross on their heads. They are known to belong to the Telescopus Falax species, European Cat Snakes, and are harmless to the humans.
They first appear in the church courtyard, the walls and the bell tower on August 5th.
Also this year, the snakes appeared in the area and the locals of Markopoulo village gathered them and set them on the silver icon of the Virgin Mary of the Snakes.
According to local media inkefalonia, three snakes appeared these days of August 2018.
Hundreds of faithful rushed again to the church to attend the mass, pray to Holy Mother and admire the little snakes.
The snakes are calm and show no sign of fear or aggressiveness during the festivities.
However, once the liturgy on August 15th concludes, the snakes disappear and cannot be seen around until August next year.
According to the legend, the nuns of the monastery where the church is now located were attacked by pirates in 1705. The nuns prayed to Panagia for protection and she transformed them into snakes. When the pirates entered the convent they were terrified and fled never to return.
Ever since the early 18th century, the snakes appear in the church every year in August.
Should the snakes do not appear, locals consider it as a bad omen.
The miracle snakes did not appear in 1940, the year where Greece was brought into Second World War, and in 1953, when the island of Kefalonia was hit by a devastating earthquake.