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St. John the Russian church | by johnskabardonis
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St. John the Russian church

The interior of the St. John the Russian (Agios Ioannis o Rossos) church can be found in the town of Prokopi, on the island of Euboea. Thousands of pilgrims visit this church every year to venerate the saint's body which lies inside. The drive from Athens takes only a few hours - with the last hour or so winding through the steep, forested mountains of central Euboea, being truly spectacular.

 

St. John the Russian was born in the Ukraine in the late 17th century. He served in the Czar’s army in the wars again the Ottomans, where he was captured, taken to Anatolia and sold as a slave. He lived out his life in servitude and once he died in 1730, his body was first buried and then exhumed a few years later and found to be intact. The Greeks who lived in the region collected his body and placed it in a church in Cappadocia in Anatolia until the 1920s - it was said to have been venerated by Greeks, Armenians, Protestants and Muslims, and it performed miracles of healing that made his church a site of pilgrimage for all the people of Anatolia. In 1922 with the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey following the Greco-Turkish war en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Turkish_War_(1919%e2%80%931922) , his incorrupt relics were carried by the Greek refugees and eventually were moved to the town of Prokopi on the island of Euboea, where a large church was built in his honor.

 

Special thanks to Anna_Greece: www.flickr.com/people/anna_greece/ who first introduced me to St. John the Russian through her photostream here on Flickr.

Here is a link to one of her images of the church exterior: www.flickr.com/photos/anna_greece/2541279285/

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Taken on August 23, 2008