Saint Dionysios is the protector saint of the island. Zakynthians honor him twice a year with processions of his sacred relic, in a very emotional atmosphere.
Saint Dionysios’ church started to construct in 1925, in the place of the older church, ruined by earthquakes.
The imposing church was inaugurated just a few years before the catastrophic earthquake of 1953 and was one of the three buildings in the island that had no catastrophes.
The church is of basilica style. Highly impressive is the castle shaped bell tower, which reminds that of Saint Marcus in Venice and has a height of more than 40m.
Inside the church is saved the Saint’s relics, in a silver shrine.
The mystery painting was completed recently. Really impressive is the wooden chancel screen and the icons inside the church.
Saint Dionysios’ bios
Saint Dionysios, Draganinos Sigouros was born in Zakynthos in 1547 from an aristocratic family.
In 1568 he became a monk in the monastery of Strofades and took the name Daniel.
In 1577 he was ordained Archbishop of Aegina and was named Dionysios. Some years later he resigned and returned to Zakynthos.
He became an Abbot in the church of Anafonitria and Strofades until December 17th 1622 when he died.
He was buried after his will in the monastery of Strofades, where he spent the biggest part of his life. During the translation of his relics, his body was found undecaying and odoriferous. He was proclaimed Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1703.
He became known as the Saint of Sorry for forgiving his brother’s assassin. In August 1717 his relic was transferred to Zakynthos for protection from pirates. At first it was kept in the Church of Metohi. But in 1764 it was transferred in the monastery of Saint Dionysios, built by the Monks of Strofades. Since then thousands of visitors come to Zakynthos in order to worship his Relic.
Zakynthians honor their protector with two processions all year around.
The first procession is on August 24th, when is honored the Transfer of his Relics from the islands of Strofades to Zakynthos.
The second procession is on December 17th, when it is honored the Dormition of Saint Dionysios.
In both processions the religious and festive occasions last three days. From August 23rd to August 26th and from December 16th to December 19th. They are celebrated under an emotional atmosphere. During this period thousands of believers visit Zakynthos.