Theodora of Vasta
The holy-virgin martyr 'Theodora of Vasta', Arcadia, Megalopolis of the Peloponnese in Greece is commemorated by the Church September 11. 3rd century, not to be confused with St. Theodora of Alexandria (d. 491) who is also commemorated September 11 by the church.
The Chapel of St. Theodora in Vasta
The Chapel of St. Theodora is located near the village Vasta of Megalopoli in Peloponnese of Greece. It was built anywhere between the 11th or 12th century.
The tradition of this chapel, tells us that the “construction” of the church is correlated with the martyrdom of Theodora – “Let my body be a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them …”.
This small chapel, is approximately 2 metres wide by 2 metres long, and supports 17 large trees that emerge from the rooftop and the walls of the chapel, with each tree weighing close to a tonne each and over 20 metres high.
For hundreds of years, the roots of the trees have not been visible under the few centimetre thick roof and neither inside or outside the thin chapel walls. Locals could not find a scientific explanation to give an explanation for this phenomenon.
Many researches have spent years studying this structure, conducting all sorts of scientific studies even X-raying the walls but finding no explanation for the roots of the trees.
In 2003, a geophysical report was presented at the 4th Symposium of Archaeometry in Greece. The results of this investigation proved that the roots followed the gaps existing inside the stonewall of the chapel creating repulsion stresses between the stones and thus reaching the ground.
The entire building is under considerable pressure due to the large load of the trees and the true miracle is that after hundreds of years, and given the exceptional physical circumstances, the chapel survives with no damages to the structure or the trees.
There is a spring that comes out from underneath the chapel that irrigates the trees.
According to tradition, Theodora joined the army, at a young age, to support her family who were poor. Since her family had no heirs, she was forced to disguise herself as a man to be able to participate in the army and earn her wages. While she was serving, a young girl fell in love with her and told the commander that she was pregnant with Theodora’s child. The commander was forced to deal with the scandal and Theodora was forced to either admit this offence or sacrifice herself.
- Webshot of the church of St. Theodora uploaded July 25, 2005 by user “goneis”.
- Photo of St. Theodora’s church by night with author’s description of the church, November 25, 2007 off trekearth – Copyright to Stelios Kritikakis.
- “The miracle of Vasta” article posted with pictures in Greek by “Stephanos”.
- About the village of w:Vasta in Arcadia on Wikipedia.
- The Geophysical Research at the Church of Saint Theodora at Vasta Megaloupolis – 4th Symposium on Archaeometry, May 28-31 2003.