Evia is the 2nd largest island of Greece, after Crete and one of the two islands connected to the mainland Greece, together with Lefkada.
It takes only 1 hour or less of drive from Athens to its gateway town Halkida (ancient Chalkis).
Saint John the Russian (village of Prokopi)
The church of Agios Ioannis Rossos (Saint John the Russian) is situated in the village of Prokopi, in central Evia.
Church of Agios Ioannis Rossos (Saint John the Russian)
It attracts many visitors not only from all over the Greece, but also from other Orthodox countries like Russia, Roumania, and Bulgaria.
John was said to be born around 1690 in Russia. He was conscripted to the Russian army under Peter the First. In 1711, during the Russo-Turkish war, he and other soldiers were held captive by a Turkish commander, who took them to Prokopio in Asia Minor.
The Turkish commander tried to convert them into Islam, but John persisted in Christian faith, while serving his Muslim master.
He died around 1730. His remains were but his remains continued to perform miracles.
Following the Lausanne Convention of 1923 that decided the population exchange between Turkey and Greece, the Christian inhabitants of Prokopion moved to Evia and there founded the village of Prokopi, bringing the remains of Saint John with them.
The remains were first deposited at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen and in 1951 were moved to a new church dedicated to him.
His feast is held in 27 May.
From Athens to Prokopi, the distance is about 130 KM and it takes 2 hour drive, going through Athens-Lamia National Road and the ramification toward Halkida. The drive from Halkida to Prokopi is quite pleasant passing through mountains and forests.
Saint John mugs at one of the tourist shops
In Prokopi, religious tourist proliferates. There are many tourist oriented shops, cafeterias and some tavernas. You can leave your car at the car park at the entrance of village, but there are places where you can park around the Church.
Inside the Church. On the left side is where the remains of Saint John are deposited.
Outside the church, there are places where you can collect holy water and holy oil. There is also a small oratory where deposited a belt and a cap with holy benediction; you can wear these and pray to the Saint.