Leashia and I took a detour to visit this amazing little Byzantine church on the way to the Lousios Gorge in the summer of 2022. The church is near the village of Vastas to the west of the E65 motorway. The road there is slow and winding and extra slow if you get stuck behind a couple of coaches of pilgrims [as we were] heading for the church as there are few places to overtake.
We managed to get ahead of the pilgrimage by taking a short cut through the village of Vastas where the streets are too narrow for large vehicles. We arrived at the church a good ten minutes before the hordes of pilgrims descended so had the place to ourselves for a bit which was lovely.
The tiny Byzantine church is built on the site of where the 17 year old Theodora was martyred. Before her death Theodora prayed out loud “Let my body become a church, my blood a river, and my hair the trees.” A spring appeared by the place of her death and the church that was built on the site in her honour subsequently sprouted 17 large oak trees from the wall and through the roof with no evidence of a root system. Despite several scientific studies this phenomenon has not been been explained. If you want to know the full story click HERE. [opens in a new tab].
The church is by a stone bridge in a tranquil green river valley, tranquil that is until the arrival of coaches of pilgrims. The large car park gives a good indication that this is a popular place to visit for Greeks and the equally large taverna seems more than capable to cater for a sudden influx of hordes of visitors. It has a pretty garden setting as well as toilets. Unfortunately the road past the church does not seem to go anywhere helpful so you will need to return by the way you came.