At the edge of the natural fjord, at the port of Xirokabos, nesting between two rocks (forming its roof) is the church of “Panaghia Kavouradena”, one of the most beautiful churches of Leros.

Its belfry overlooks the sea. The altar is nothing more than a cut on the rock. The icon of Panaghia (Virgin Mary) is decorated with a big crab. Only a handful of people can fit in the chapel! It is said that this was the location of an ancient beacon (building where signal fires would be lit).

Tradition has it that some fisherman was bit by a crab while fishing for shells. At that moment, he saw the icon of Panaghia. He immediately prayed to her and his wound was healed. Witnessing the miracle, he took the icon, in piety, to the church, and told the story to his fellow villagers. On the same night, he dreamt of a woman dressed in black, who told him “put me back where you found me”. On the next morning, he searched and found the icon on the same spot, on the rocks, where he had found it on the previous day. So, he thought about building a church at the location where he had found the icon.

Another assumption is that the church was ordered by a fisherman from Kalymnos, and constructed in 1796, by craftsmen of Leros. The fisherman of Kalymnos was spear-fishing one day, and he pulled out of the water a plank full of spider-crabs and shellfish. When we cleaned it, he saw that an icon of Panaghia (Virgin Mary) was painted on it. He named it Kavouradena (of crabs) and placed it at the icon stand of his house, in Kalymnos. On that same night, a woman in black appeared in his dream and told him: “Take me back and build me a home”. The fisherman, found himself obliged to take the icon back to Leros, obeying her orders. He built a church at the exact location where he had found the icon.

Panaghia Kavouradena is celebrated on 8 August.



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