Church of Agia Theodora

Trees with a height of 30 meters grow through the roof of this miraculous church.
21 August, 2022

A devoted woman who dedicated her life to helping local people against bandits died praying to God to turn her hair into trees, her blood into a river so as to water them, and her body into a temple. Lost in the deepest Arcadian forest lies today the miracle of her prayer.

The legend

A young woman named Theodora grew up in the village of Vasta, not far from this location. These lands were infested with bandits and raiders who were enemies of the local inhabitants. Theodora soon felt the need to join the defence, but there was one problem, she was not a man. As a woman, she would be viewed poorly, or at the very least, not recognised as a warrior. Nevertheless, Theodora was determined to help defend her village, and this did not stop the fighting spirit of the revered young woman, who disguised herself as a man. She soon became a recognised warrior, earning the respect of the local people.

After arduous feats and fighting, the young woman suffered a mortal blow on this very location, and as she lay dying, she uttered the following words:

"Let my body become a church, my blood a river, my hair the forest"

So it was that after those powerful words, the villagers were moved by such courage and valour and erected a church in her honour. As predicted by the prayer of the holy virgin, water began to flow directly under the church, and 17 giant trees sprouted from the roof.

Today’s location

(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This legendary event sparks a stir among visitors today and undoubtedly makes this a mysterious place. St. Theodora has become an important saint of the Greek Orthodox Church, and the site has grown into a noteworthy destination for religious pilgrims and tourists.

Theodora is celebrated on September 11th, when thousands of people from all across Greece travel here for the occasion and pray to the virgin.

The building dates from the 11th and 12th Century CE and because of its unique appearance and formation, many are scientists who tried to give an explanation. The roots and trunks of these massive trees penetrate the stone, and somehow, for many, miraculously, do not collapse the little church.

(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Between the curious visitors and the pilgrims, the place is an awe-inspiring destination able to mesmerise and make you think. Moreover, the Orthodox community has created a peaceful environment that puts its visitors at ease with calmness and relaxation.
(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
(by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)