« The Virgin between Orthodox and Catholics: religious mediations on Tinos »

The Cycladic island of Tinos houses a famous sanctuary, where one can find the most venerated Marian icon in Greece. This island has been called the “sacred island” (official decision made under the military coup of 1967), “a second Jerusalem”, “the Orthodox Lourdes” (expression used also by the Pope John-Paul II, the 10th of April 1988) and the “Orthodox Vatican”. Are these Catholic references linked to the fact that almost the half of the local population is Catholic? And how does this Catholic presence influence the sanctuary and the national cult developed in honor of this Virgin? If Tinos is a critical area of cultural and religious overlap, how are expressed the tensions between the two groups and at which historical periods they most appear? Abrupt social and political change provides a fertile ground for symbolic mediations, and the case of Tinos is related both to international politics and to the formation of the Greek State. I will especially analyze the relationship between the “divine interventions” of the Virgin on Tinos, and the various forms of inter-confessional violence that occurred at three different historical periods: the presence of the Russian army on Tinos (1771-1774), the discovery of the icon (1823) which is linked to the Greek War of Independence (1821); and at a recent period, the conflict between Serbs and Croats in ex-Yugoslavia.