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Travel

The Wonderful Tree Church of St. Paisios in the Village of St. Barbara in Konitsa

July 2, 2022
By Haris Poretsis

The Tree Church of St. Paisios (Δεντροκκλησιά Αγίου Παϊσίου) is a small orthodox church inside a tree, built in honor of St. Paisios, in a place where in his youth he passed by on his way to performing carpentry work and repairs in nearby houses.

It is worth mentioning that St. Paisios grew up and lived in Konitsa, a wonderful town of Epirus (known for its historical and religious monuments and famous for its bridge, the largest ‘monotone’ in the Balkans) just sixty kilometers from Ioannina.

The Tree Church is located 22 km north of Konitsa, just a few meters past the junction at the village of St. Barbara, along the road to Amarantos.

The tree, in which the church is built had suffered a lot of damage in the past from fires (fires lit by passers-by or during barbecues etc.) resulting in its health worsening each and every year and almost ready to collapse! Signs of this damage are still visible if one notices the spot near the small bell at the chapel.

A few years ago, thanks to the idea and the fulfillment of an oblation of a resident of the village of St. Barbara, the weakened tree was strengthened internally with stone and turned into a place of pilgrimage in honor of St. Paisios.

On the outside, there is a small bell, while inside there is the icon of St. Paisios surrounded by oblations of the faithful and a recess where the visitor can light a candle.

Next to the tree church, stone benches have been built, so that visitors can rest, and an imposing four-meter-high wooden cross has been raised.

The Tree Church of St. Paisios has reached the top of lists sights in the wider area, winning  Tripadvisor’s Travelers Choice 2021 award.

The love of the people who visit is also reflected on Facebook, where the page Tree Church of St. Paisios has thousands of followers.

It is important to note that there are other similar churches in Greece – places of worship in a tree – that keep arousing the interest of Greek and foreign visitors.

Next to the Tree Church is the church of St. Marina, and eighty meters farther away there is a small church in honor of St. Kosmas of Aitolos, and next to that is the chapel of St. Athanasios, all overlooking the Sarandaporos river.

A beautiful religious park, just 20 minutes from Konitsa, the area has now become an attraction for those who visit the the surrounding villages.

 

 

 

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