The monastery of Virgin Mary "Spiliani" is located on the hill above Mandraki, the capital of the island. Access to the monastery is from the main road, near the church of Potamitissa, from where the 130 steps lead to the monastery. The visitor is fascinated by the panoramic view and the tranquility of the landscape.
Panagia Spiliani owes its name to the fact that the church of the monastery is built in the cave of the hill. The church hosts the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
Every August 15th, at its feast, a crowd of pilgrims arrives in Nisyros and the largest feast on the island takes place accompanied by songs, dancing and food.
Feast Date: 15 August
According to the tradition, a Nisyrius shepherd once saw from afar a light of the daylight in the cave that existed in the rock. When he approached he was surprised by a small icon of the Virgin Mary, which he brought to the Potamitissa temple. The area has since been called "Vretou". The next morning, when they visited the church, they discovered that the icon had disappeared and began to look for it. Eventually, they found the icon on the hill. So they realized it was Holy Mary's wish to stay there. A few years later, probably at the end of the 14th century, they began to build the monastery of Our Lady. The cave is divided into two temples. The north is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the south to Saint Charalambos. Then, the locals made a big icon of the Virgin, which was identical to the small wooden icon that had been found in the cave, and it was covered with silver. The small icon set it in the palm of the left hand of the Virgin Mary in the big picture they made, which is still there today. Of course it does not seem because it is hidden between wood and silver. In order to fit, they even made the left hand bigger and the difference between the two hands is obvious. It is worth mentioning that, according to local people, the Virgin Mary's left hand in the icon is hot when it touches, that is, it has the temperature of the human body, unlike the other hand, which is cold.