In the early 1940s the inhabitants raised money to restore the church, but the sum was not sufficient and two local people undertook to take the money to the Dodecanese to invest so that the necessary funds were collected. However, they vanished without trace and this was considered a bad omen for the reconstruction of the church.
In 1972 Papa Stathis, Giannis Roumeliotis and Katie Ioannou, sister of the then local GP undertake to clear the area.
Their efforts uncover two columns and a slab of marble from a Byzantine church. Their first thought is to use them to establish a rudimentary altar.
The following year, 1973, during the course of ongoing maintenance work, they uncover more of the stonework of the Byzantine church and construct a slight wall where they place the prophet’s icon and an oil lamp.
That same year on the afternoon of the Prophet’s feast day, July 20, the inhabitants arrive on foot at the half-finished shrine to hold Vespers.
In 1974, the Church decides that no Mass can be held at the ruins, on the grounds that it is not a consecrated church.
Nowadays you can still see the ruins, the altar and the icon of the Prophet with the lamp still burning, tended by the faithful.
Every year on July 20, the devout still congregate at the shrine and hold Vespers. Soft drinks are offered to those who attend.
The plot where the shrine stands is private property but entrance is free.
Find a description of the route to Profitis Ilias’ Chapel in the section “Paths – Trekking on Pano Koufonissi”