A unique tiny church build in the trunk of a huge tree near the town of Konitsa draws thousands of visitors each year from Greece and abroad. The tree church of Saint Paisios is located 22 kilometers north of Konitsa, in the village of Agia Varvara in northwestern Greece.
It is believed that Saint Paisios, one of the most beloved figures in the Orthodox Church, passed through the area in his youth, going to nearby villages to carry out carpentry work and repairs in local houses.
The tree had suffered from burning as passers-by lit fires to warm themselves, or for barbecues. With each passing year, its condition worsened and there was a fear it might collapse.
But, thanks to a local villager, the weak tree was internally shielded with stone and turned into a place of pilgrimage, the Dentrokklisia, in honor of Saint Paisios.
On the outside, there is a small bell, while on the inside, which only holds two people, there is a recess where the visitor can light his candle, a candelabrum, an icon of Christ, an icon of the Virgin Mary and in the center the icon of Saint Paisios.
The tree has turned green again and has become a jewel for the area.
The tree-lined church ranks high among Konitsa attractions according to the TripAdvisor world guide and won the Best travelers choice 2021 award for Konitsa attractions and activities.
Tree Church in Greece honors Saint Paisios
Known for his incredible prophesies, countless miracles, deep understanding of the love of God, and mysticism, Saint Paisios is among the most venerated of all the saints in the Church. He is extremely popular around the Orthodox world but particularly in Greece, Cyprus, and Russia.
Born in Cappadocia, Turkey in 1924, Saint Paisios fled to Greece with his family as refugees after the population exchange between Turkey and Greece soon after his birth.
During his life, the saint made many famous predictions regarding world events and politics, including a future war between Turkey and Russia that would lead to Greece expanding her borders to areas that had been Greek in antiquity.
He wrote four books, published by the Holy Monastery Saint John the Theologian: Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian (1991), Elder Hadji-Georgis the Athonite, 1809-1886 (1986), Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters (1993) and Letters (1994).
Saint Paisios passed away at the age of 69 in 1994. He was canonized in 2015 by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The church commemorates his feast day on July 12th. Every year, thousands of worshipers travel to Thessaloniki in order to pay their respects to Saint Paisios, whose tomb is located at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian.