The church of Ypapanti (The presentation of Christ) is the Cathedral of the Messinian capital, a magnificent Byzantine-style church, built in 1839 and inaugurated in 1879.
The Holy icon of the Virgin Mary (Ypapanti) is located here and is celebrated every February 2nd. As the Virgin is the patron saint of Kalamata this is a major celebration and local holiday.
The icon is said to date from 672 AD and was found in stables during Ottoman rule after one of the citys noblemen saw it in a vision. Having survived a fire, the back of the icon has been burned but the front is intact. After its discovery the icon found its home in a small church with the name Ypapanti built where it had been found.
The church was named in honour of the icon and also an ancient temple that had stood on the same site. After the liberation of Greece the small church was demolished and the new church of Ypapanti was inaugurated on August 19th, 1873, and since then has been the Metropolitan Church of Kalamata.
The holy icon has the respect not only of the residents of Kalamata but of Greeks everywhere due to the numerous miracles that have been attributed to it. Amongst other miracles the saving of the people of Kalamata from certain death, stands out. In the year 1841, during the summer and early autumn, disease fell heavily over the whole city.
No house was spared and the church bells announced another death hourly. The people urged the church to parade the Holy Icon through the streets in attempt to stop the terrible illness and bitter death. The city leaders ordered three days of fasting and a procession and the disease disappeared.
The church we see today had to be repaired after the earthquakes of 1886 and 1986.