Legend of statue of the Madonna of Tindari
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The legend of the statue of the Madonna of Tindari tells the beginning of the cult of the Black Madonna of Tindari.
It is said that, during the period of iconoclastic persecution, a ship from the East took refuge in the bay of Tindari to protect itself from a storm.
In the hold of the boat a statue was kept, inside a wooden box. of the Byzantine Madonna escaped the destruction.
When the storm ended, the ship prepared to sail the sea again, but the ship was unable to set sail. Believing that this was due to the excessive load, the sailors abandoned part of the load in the water: only when they threw the box with the statue into the water did the ship manage to set sail.
The inhabitants of Tindari recovered that box and opening it they discovered the marvelous cedar wood statue of the Byzantine Virgin holding the Baby Jesus in her arms and, at the foot, the inscription: "Nigra Sum sed Formosa".
So it was that the statue was brought to the highest hill in the area, where a Christian community already existed, and the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Tindari was founded.