A Throwback Thursday…. taking me back to summer…. to a place where I wish I was.
I write this post for all people, of all religions, believers and non believers. My purpose is so share something of magnificence that I experienced this summer. Not to convert non believers, not to convert anyone to Orthodoxy, but to make you think about something larger than life. Just simply make you think. Nothing more.
Most of you know by now that I am Greek, and with that, my religion is Greek Orthodox. Having visited the motherland this summer, I knew of a teeny tiny church I felt compelled to share with my children. The church of Saint Theordora of Vasta, outside of Megalopolis. Why? Take a look below and see for yourself. Be prepared to get chills.
This little chapel of a church is nestled deep deep in the woods up HIGH HIGH in the mountains of the Peloponese region of Greece. I mean HIGH and it took driving thru narrow and winding roads up this mountain, roads only wide enough for ONE car. So all I did was PRAY that we wouldn’t have an issue with an oncoming car. I knew after the agony and fear of getting there, I knew someone above was watching us, protecting us all along the way. There were no major signs, but just a few little old ones. If you missed them, you missed them, and you could very well possibly not find it.
This was no where near the top… PRE-long and narrow windy roads!
The story of St. Theordora is quite heroic. A long time ago, when her town was raided by bandits, Theodora was determined to help defend her village, but as a woman it was unthinkable to do so. Not to be deterred, Theodora secretly disguised herself as a male soldier in order to join the defense. Unfortunately, Theodora did not survive, and as she lay dying she uttered the following words:
“Let my body become a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them.” Her fellow soldiers being so moved by those words then built a small church where her grave was. And from there the river began flowing from beneath the church, and the now 17 trees began to sprout. All on their own. The trees sprouted from the roof of the church, the roots of which are not visible under the roof and neither inside or outside the church.
There is no explanation as to how the trees sprouted and continue to maintain themselves on the thin roof of the church without the church collapsing. Many scientists and researchers have come to explore this mystery and do not have an explanation for this phenomena. They cannot find the roots of the trees as they are somehow embedded in the church, and they cannot explain how the weight of the trees have not damaged the structure of the church. Mind you , each tree weighs about one ton. There are 17 of them.
The water beneath the church smells like roses. Rosewater. Freshness. And it’s holy water. Said to have healing ability. So of course we bottled up some of the wonderful water to have for our families in case of need.
To say this was moving is an understatement. My kids eyes swelled with tears with this story of heroism and mystery. A greater power that be is the only explanation we can see for this.
It should be noted that this church is also in the Guinness Book of World Records as a miraculous wonder.
If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, I must say I don’t know what will. Again, not trying to make believers out of anyone. But this is pretty telling that there is something greater than us at work. I love it. Everything about it and it’s AWESOMENESS in every sense of the word.
You can read more about this HERE.