Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Church of Saint Paraskevi of the Dragon in Arta of Epirus


The Church of Saint Paraskevi of the Dragon is located 11 kilometers north of Arta in Epirus, above the settlement of Ampelia Ammotopou and 2 kilometers approximately northeast of the provincial road Artas-Hanopoulos-Ammotopou. Isolated in the southern area of Xirovouni, on the smooth slopes of Gelperina, it connects its establishment with the adjacent cave or "dragon hole" as the locals call it.

The legend of the building of the temple, as well as the nickname "of the dragon", is based on the well-known and particularly popular theme of dragon slaying which symbolizes the victory over evil, most popularly associated with Saint George.

According to folk tradition, a dragon lived in the cave, which once a year appeared at the village festival and grabbed the most beautiful maiden. The inhabitants begged Saint Paraskevi to free them from this evil, so the Saint clashed with the monster and killed it. In her honor, the residents erected the small church.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Saint Christina and the Reptiles of the Magicians

Julian, the governor of the city of Tyre, wanting to defeat the young maiden Christina, the invincible Martyr of Christ, at any cost, called magicians and sorcerers, who knew how to bewitch all kinds of reptiles, and ordered them to use their spells to gather a multitude of snakes, vipers and scorpions, and to hurl them all at the Martyr to tire her out with their poisonous bites. When they released the reptiles on the Saint, not a single one hurt her, even though they crawled around her and wrapped themselves around her body. In the immediate vicinity stood a senior witch doctor who, with his incantations and spells, enticed the reptiles to bite the virgin. However, all the reptiles, according to God's order, attacked that soothsayer, bit him and he died at that moment. And the Saint said to the reptiles: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you reptiles: snakes, adders and scorpions, go each to your place, without hurting anyone!"