The chapel of Prophet Elias on mount Kerkis, Samos, has no historical or architectural interest comparatively with other churces of the island, but it is a reference point for all walkers of Kerkis and several times was a refuge for some walkers who found in difficult situations, additional, the history of the chapel begins with such a situation.
Spyros Aiginitis was a naturalist fan and frequently climbed to the paths of Mount Kerkis, but in 1909 on a hike to the top of the mountain, with his friend Pavlos Papadakis, they found fog and lost their orientation and they were in serious danger. They prayed to God and to Prophet Elijah, to help them, as it happened. After that, Spyros Aiginitis, his own expense, build the chapel of Prophet Elias with a small antechamber, which serving as a shelter, for those who will find at the mountain such difficult conditions. Above the inner gate of the temple, he placed his memorial plaque, which reads “He who believes in God and the saints is not lost. Spyros Aiginitis built this temple of Prophet Elias when he asked for his help, when he found himself in serious danger on the mountain in 1909”
At the feast day of Prophet Elias, on July 20, there is vigil and divine Liturgy, while many people come, mainly from the area of Marathokampos and from the rest of the island.
600 meters south and higher than the Prophet Elias (east and slightly lower than the top of Mount Kerkis), the foundations of the older temple of Prophet Elias are preserved, dating back to 1666. The old temple was probably constructed by ascetics who lived in area, was a three-aisled with dimensions 5 m. in length and 9 m. in width and was abandoned in the 19th century when it was ramshackle.
Between the two temples there are sources that have a small but continuous flow of drinking water, one of them (located 100 – 200 meters south of the old temple), has the most water and must be that mentioned by Joseph Georgirenes in his book “Description of Samos Island 1677” and E. Stamatiadis in his book “Samos 1892”.
- Foundation : 1909
- Celebration : 20 July
- Altitude : Elevation ≈ 1.150 m
- Condition : good
- Administratively : Chapel
- To reach Prophet Elias chapel from Kampo Marathokampou, you will make a distance of 4.5 km (1 Km asphalt and 3.5 dirt road) and arrive at an altitude of 370 m, then follow the uphill path by foot for about 2 Km, where you arrive after 30 – 45 minutes in Vangelistra monastery at 650 meters altitude, continuing the uphill path from Monastery for another 2.5 km, you reach the chapel of Prophet Elias at 1,170 m altitude. Continuing the path from of Prophet Elias you reach Vigla, the top of Kerkis mountain at 1,443 m altitude. The trail is uphill, steep, rocky, and indistinguishable, but the spectacular view will rewarding. Here the horizon opens and the view is amazing, from here appears throughout Samos, deep to Asia Minor, the islands Chios, Ikaria, Fournoi, Cyclades, Dodecanese and more.
- ATTENTION you have to be a experienced walker and it is better to have a native who knows the path, like Samos outdoor activities.
=> get information for the path from Kampos Marathokampou