Moscow, June 30, 2017
A 300-year-old oak tree has been saved from destruction by a pious Greek villager who decided to build a chapel to St. Paisios the Athonite inside its trunk, reports kontranews.gr.
The tree has suffered a good bit of damage from travelers who would stop there and start a fire inside the tree to warm themselves. However, thanks to the idea and initiative of local villager Harry Poretsi, the tree has been saved and converted into a pilgrimage spot in honor of St. Paisios.
The unique chapel is located 13.5 miles north of Konitsa in the village of Agia Varvara (St. Barbara), where St. Paisios is said to have passed by on his way to the nearby village of Amarantos to do some carpentry work, repairing local houses. St. Kosmas Aitolos is also said to have passed through the village. There is a chapel in his honor not far from the orchard where the St. Paisios tree-chapel is located, according to pronews.gr.
The weak tree was lined with stone inside and out and turned into a chapel, with an icon of St. Paisios, a lampada, a candle stand, and a door. The church is 7 feet tall.
There are a few other such chapels in Greece, which always attract the attention of locals and tourists alike. An Omsk, Russia man built a unique igloo church out of snow over the course of two months this past winter, complete with icons and a candlestand, and a cupola with a three-bar cross.