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Rare Tree-Chapel: Elder Paisios pilgrimage inside a 300-year-old oak tree

Faith and passion. And a 300-year-old oak tree risk to collapse. A local man decided to save the tree and turned it into a pilgrimage for Elder Paisios, the ascetic monk of Mount Athos who was canonized two years ago.

The rare form of pilgrimage is located in Agia Varvara village, 22 km north of Konista in Epirus, northwestern Greece.

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The oak tree had suffered several forms of destruction, it was deteriorating year after year.

The restoration work consisted, first of all, of shielding the hollow with local stones.


An icon of Elder Paisios was put inside and an oil lamp.

The two meter and ten centimeter high tree was turned into a tiny tree-chapel.

According to the biography of Elder Paisios, he used to pass by the village of Agia Varvara when he was young in order to perform carpentry and repairs to local houses in the nearby village of Amarantos.

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There are reportedly very few tree-chapels in Greece. Such tree-chapels attract the interest of many Greek and foreign visitors.

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (Greek: Ὅσιος Παΐσιος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης), born Arsenios Eznepidis (1924–1994), was a well-known Greek Eastern Orthodox ascetic from Mount Athos.

He was born on 25 July 1924 in Pharasa, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, today Turkey. His family settled in Konitsa, Epirus, during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.  He grew  up there, and after intermediate public school, he learned carpentry.

He went to Mount Athos in 1940 but soon he had to return to his village in order to support his family. In 1953 he returned to Mount Athos and after a period he spent as novice, he was tonsured a monk in 1956.

St Paisios or better known as Elder Paisios has been respected for his spiritual guidance and ascetic life and many people worldwide highly venerate Elder Paisios, especially in Greece and in Russia.

Venerable Elder Paisios was canonized on 13 January 2015 by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the church commemorates his feast day on July 12.

Tree Chapel source and more pictures:

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  1. costa sakellariou


  2. Glory to God!

  3. They should have a cantina up front offering free pastitsio to the worshippers.

  4. Should they also serve moussaka and gemista for those who don’t like pastitio? That’s fine too.