Pilgrim walking on knees  inside the Panagia church

Watch: Greece's Tinos pilgrimage overshadowed by virus

Greek Orthodox pilgrims have been arriving on the Aegean island of Tinos ahead of an August 15 religious holiday.

The annual visit to the island's renowned Church of the Panagia of Tinos - which houses an icon believed to perform miracles - usually attracts thousands of pilgrims marking the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

The annual celebration of the feast of the Assumption in Tinos is normally a huge affair, with a Greek navy band and honour guard leading a procession carrying the icon down the hill from the church to the port.

Thousands gather in the street, waiting to pass under the icon, an action the faithful believe can bestow miraculous cures.

But this year, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the suspension of many of the usual practices.

Masks are compulsory inside the church, as is social distancing.

The procession will not be held, in an effort to avoid crowds and the service will be performed inside the church.

The icon was discovered in a field on the island in 1823 during Greece's War of Independence after a nun said she had seen a vision that told her where to find it.