In June of 1822 at the nunnery of Kechrovounion, a nun by the name of Pelagia had a series of visions of the Holy Virgin. Mary instructed Pelagia to inform the elders of Tinos village that they were to begin excavations in an uncultivated field, where they would find a sacred icon. Excavations began and on January 30, 1823, a worker digging in the soil discovered the icon. Subsequent archaeological excavations have determined the area of the icon’s discovery to have been the site of the ancient Byzantine church and, before that, the temple of Dionysos.
The icon, called Panagia Evangelistria, meaning Our Lady of Good Tidings, is a beautiful portrayal of Mary kneeling with her head bent in prayer. Regarded by scholars as being older than the Byzantine period, it may perhaps be the work of the Apostle and Evangelist St. Luke. It is assumed that the icon was a sacred object in the Byzantine church and was hidden or lost around the time of the Moslem invasions. After the discovery of the icon, the construction of a new church was begun. Before the church was completed in 1830, large numbers of pilgrims had begun to come to the island from throughout Greece. Numerous reports of miracles of healing rapidly increased the fame of the Church of the Megolohari, with the result that today the sacred icon is the most venerated pilgrimage item of the Greek nation. Four major festival days are celebrated at the shrine: January 30, the anniversary of the finding of the icon; March 25, the Annunciation of Mary; July 23, the anniversary of the vision of the nun Pelagia; and August 15, the Assumption of Mary.