Near the village of Vasta on the border of the prefectures of Arcadia and Messinia, is the small Byzantine church of Saint Theodora that attracts the interest of hundreds of visitors! The reason; On the roof of this temple built in the 12th century, there are 17 large trees, reaching a height of 20 meters and without distinguishing their roots! Only the trunks and branches of the trees that pass through the walls and the roof of the temple can be seen. The water that flows in the river, which is next to the church, waters the seventeen trees that literally come out from inside.
The number of trees is not accidental, since according to the religious tradition they correspond to the 17 years of Saint Theodora. According to history – or legend for some – St. Theodora came from a poor family and since she was the eldest child, due to the financial hardship of her family, she was forced to disguise herself as a man and serve as a mercenary soldier.
In the army, a young girl fell in love with her as Theodore, and because there was no response, the young woman accused her of leaving her pregnant. So it seems that she was led to martyrdom by the girl’s family. Theodora, who was very God-fearing, before her beheading, asked God to turn her hair into trees, her blood into a river to water them and her body into a temple.
The scientific explanation
In 1996, the Geophysics Laboratory of the University of Patras carried out a pioneering audit with geography and electrical tomography. The results showed that the root system of the trees has penetrated the stone construction of the walls, creating gaps. Through them it reaches the ground, actually creating a grid that keeps the building upright.
The Guinness World Record
The church celebrates on September 11. It is worth noting that the chapel has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records as a “wonderful temple”.