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Agia Theodora - 12 - Tree

Holy Virgin Martyr Theodora

Agia Theodora Vasta is a small Byzantine church with 17 trees growing on its roof. Only a single thick root can be seen above the entrance. No roots can be seen anywhere else, not even inside the church. Underneath the church is the source of a river whose water is said to be drinkable - but I didn't taste it.

The church is now a popular place of pilgrimage (commemoration day is September 11th); Believers are said to have received numerous miracles.

There are several legends about the creation of this unusual church. The first - and for me the most touching - legend I read about goes like this:
In the 10th century, a family with three daughters lived in the Peloponnese. At this time of the Byzantine Empire, every family was obliged to send a male descendant to military service. If that wasn't possible, the family was able to buy their way out of it with a large amount of money.

Since there was no son in the family and the family did not have the necessary money, the daughter Theodora decided to join the army disguised as a man. There, the soldier Theodoris, who showed himself to be brave and combative, was soon very popular with everyone. A young laundress, who was also happy to serve the soldiers in other ways, fell in love with Theodoris. But Theodoris - inevitably - rejected the advances.

When the laundress became pregnant, when asked by the commander, she said Theodoris was the child's father. The commander asked Theodoris to marry the laundress, which Theodoris of course had to refuse. Theodoris persisted in his refusal, even when the otherwise threatened death penalty was imposed.

On the day of the execution, Theodoris prayed to God that his body would become a church, his blood a spring, and his hair trees. And on the spot where the execution took place is now the Church of Saint Theodora, with the 17 trees symbolizing Theodora's age at the time of death.
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2 comments

Annemarie said:

amazing
6 months ago ( translate )

Xata said:

Roots are specialists in finding their way to the water, whatever they have to go through...
6 months ago