Visit the “miracle” church with the 17 trees on its roof
Are you having a family road trip in Greece and more specifically in the Peloponnese?
In the boundaries between Arcadia, Messenia and Ilia, you will find the small byzantine church of Agia Theodora Vasta with its 17 holly trees growing from its roof. According to legend, Theodora wanted to devote her life to Jesus Christ and she became a monk disguising herself as a man. A woman claimed that “he” had impregnated her and Theodora was sentenced to death. Doing nothing to prove her innocence, Theodora prayed for her body to become a church, her blood a river, and her hair the trees. A small church was built in the spot, where soon 17 trees -as many as Theodora’s years- began growing on its roof. Scientists have conducted extensive research to trace the root system. By using high frequency geo-radar, they concluded that the roots are all hair thin and find their way inside the walls to the spring underneath the church. The church celebrates on the 11th of September, but the site is popular among locals during the whole year.
Within a short distance you will find 2-3 taverns. Following the path across the entrance of the church, in fewer than 150 meters, you will reach the “Watermill of Nikolas” (Neromylos tou Nikola), an operating watermill, an animal farm, a tavern, and a handmade products’ store, where you can have lunch and enjoy the sound of the river. The place is ideal for families with babies, toddlers and kids, because no cars reach the spot.
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