January 17, 2014

The Legend of St. Theodora's Chapel

The legendary St. Theodora's chapel in Vastas, Arcadia, Greece

A recent excursion to the mountainous Arcadia (Peloponnese, Greece) led us to the village Vastas and the nearby chapel of St. Theodora residing at an altitude of 860 m (~2800 ') within a forest of oak trees.
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 17mm (27.2mm)
ISO: 250, Exposure: 1/40 sec, Aperture: 4.0


Most spectacular, or "miraculous" according to the legend, are the 17 oak trees that seem to burst out of the stone walls and the flat-stone roof , without obvious roots inside the chapel.
Overview of the terrace and St. Theodora's chapel
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 17mm (27.2mm)
ISO: 250, Exposure: 1/80 sec, Aperture: 4.0
The small chapel was initially built around 1050-1100 AD in the name of a young local girl Theodora, who was slaughtered when she was 17 years old.
St. Theodora's chapel front door w/ oak tree
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 38mm (60.8mm)
ISO: 250, Exposure: 1/80 sec, Aperture: 4.0
As alleged by the legend, by her last prayer she asked her body become a temple, her hair trees and her blood a creek.  So it was, that the locals build the chapel in her memory, where the trees have grown large and tall and a spring bursts below the base of the chapel.
View of St. Theodora's chapel from nearby bridge
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 17mm (27.2mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/100 sec, Aperture: 4.0
Thus, the number of trees emerging from the stone walls and the roof, match the girls age at the time of her death. 
17 oak trees emerge from chapel's wall and roof
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 85mm (136mm)
ISO: 200, Exposure: 1/30 sec, Aperture: 5.6
I don't know if the oak trees emerged out of the chapel or the chapel was built upon the trees, as the tree trunks seem to grow and be well concealed by the masonry but nevertheless it is a unique phenomenon worth seeing.
Detail of Oak trees emerging from roof
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 72mm (115.2mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/50 sec, Aperture: 5.6



As the small stream gushes below the chapel base, it gives extreme growth to the surrounding area. Plants and oak trees thrive. The impromptu sign nailed on the tree declares that the water is drinkable.
Base of St. Theodora's chapel above spring
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 33mm (52.8mm)
ISO: 200, Exposure: 1/100 sec, Aperture: 4.5
Surrounding nature at St. Theodora's chapel
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 17mm (27.2mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/125 sec, Aperture: 4.0
Surrounding nature at St. Theodora's chapel II
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 76mm (121.6mm),
ISO: 400, Exposure: 1/160 sec, Aperture: 5.6
Surrounding nature at St. Theodora's chapel III
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 50mm (80mm)
ISO: 800, Exposure: 1/320 sec, Aperture: 5.6
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF 17-85 IS USM, Focal Length: 28mm (44.8mm)
ISO: 640, Exposure: 1/320 sec, Aperture: 4.5

All Photos were shot in RAW and post processed in Canon's DPP (Digital Photo Professional).
Thank you for viewing.
All Photos © 2013 S.C.Vlachos

2 comments :

  1. Thank you, beautyful place, and beautyful story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank You, Luca. Captivating beauty indeed.

      Delete

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