To celebrate the publication of my book, 100 Places in Greece Every Woman Should Go, (thank you to all who have ordered it!) I will be featuring images of each chapter. This week is Chapter 42: Of Healing Serpents and Mummified Saints.
Every August 15th, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, thousands of snakes miraculously appear in a church located in the remote mountain village of Markopoulo on the Ionian island of Kefalonia. The legend of the mysterious serpents dates to 1705, when pirates attacked a monastery in the area. To avoid being captured, the nuns prayed to the Virgin Mary and were changed into snakes. Today, thousands of people, such as the little girl pictured above, flock to the village in order to handle the snakes, which the locals believe bring healing, and the region is thought of as Greece's Lourdes.