The Museum of Icons and Ecclesiastical Relics of Pyrgos village is housed inside the church of the Holy Trinity, a renovated chapel that used to be a small Catholic convent. After the devastating earthquake of 1956 the church was abandoned but the locals, along with the president of the Association of Pyrgos at the time, rescued the valuable objects and managed to rebuild it. With the cooperation of the Second Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities and the Holy Metropolis of Thera the collection was offered to the public in 1997.
Since then the museum has been showcasing a permanent exhibition which is open daily, from April to October, 10:00-16:00. This exhibition includes precious Byzantine icons by local and Cretan hagiographers, potteries, metallic artworks, woodcarvings, ecclesiastical embroideries and vestments, holy books, brassware and other items for ecclesiastic use. The majority of the exhibits dates back to the 17th and 18th century and indicates the long religious tradition of Santorini and a bygone period of prosperity on the island. Rare photographs and original objects that represent different local crafts, such as winemaking, shoemaking, candle making and local food processing, are also on display.
The oldest icon of the collection is that of Saint George which dates back to the 16th century and probably originates from the namesake convent. Visitors can also see icons from Saint John the Theologian chapel in the island of Patmos, Panagia Faneromeni church in Pyrgos, the old temple of the Holy Trinity and Saint Jacob Adelfotheos church. Among the eminent hagiographers, noticeable are the icons by the Cretan priest Emmanouil Skordilis, Heir Viktoros and Monk Paisios.
As for the impressive woodcuts, those that stand out are the Cross with the trilobite ends of the antennas and the icons (“Lypira”) of Virgin Mary and John. In addition, the Epitaph that dates back to the 19th century comes from the temple of Christ and the three monstrances (18th century) belonged to the old temple of the Holy Trinity.
Last but not least, among the various relics guests can admire a pair of gold embroidered cuffs with representations of Eisodia and Hypapante, the embroidery placed below the icon of Panagia with a representation and, finally, a cross with silver casing. Locals’ religious fervor and their continuous efforts led to the establishment of this special museum that holds priceless exhibits and carries the religious tradition of Greece and Santorini, in particular, as it is an island with countless churches and chapels that embellish every settlement and add to the extraordinary beauty of the island with their domes and candy colors.