A wall covered with “Tamata” in Agios Ioannis Siderianos monastery* ~ Milos

“Tama” in the greek orthodox religion is a votive offering or promise made of a rectangular piece of metal with miniature body parts shaped on it. “Tamata” are made of tin, silver or gold. When a loved one is ailing, Greeks buy a tama then take it to the church of their choice and tie it with a ribbon under the icon or painting of their chosen saint

Tamata are the symbols of the miracle of healing which is hoped to occur, or has already occurred. They are the vehicle in which they invest their faith. So they are an integral part of the miracle. Tamata are a link between the person and the Holy spirit

Tamata made of clay have been found at ancient Greek healing centers and temples, such as religious sites of the Prepalatial Bronze Age around 3,000 BC, on Crete and  later in Epidavros. The majority were made of pottery and wood, but also metal ones started to appear



* The Monastery of Agios Ioannis (St. John) Siderianos is located on a hill above the bay of Agios Ioannis, on the western part of Milos island. It can be reached through a track road from the center of the island and only a few monks live there today. The surrounding area is almost deserted, as there is no village close by. On the 25th of September there is a festival (“panigyri”), that is quite popular with the locals

There are several stories and legends that surround the monastery that add to the mystery and excitement of this celebration. According to the locals, this monastery was the sight of a miracle: in the Medieval Times, pirates stormed the monastery which happened to be full of people gathered for the festivities. The faithful sought refuge inside the church. In fact, they did so in such haste, that the last person to enter, a woman, had her dress caught up in the closing door and torn apart.

The pirates tried to bring the door down but to no avail. Legend has it that St. John himself “steeled” the gate, preventing the pirates from entering. Ever since, the monastery was called St. John the Irongate (Agios Ioannis o Siderianos). It is also said that one of the pirates tried to shoot a hole against the iron and his arm was paralyzed




5 comments on “Votive”

  1. I learn a lot on your blog my friend 🙂 ❤

  2. Interesting story Pelly, and lovely photograph. I like the coloured one better 🙂

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