Prokopi

After 30km from Limni you come to Prokopi, whose often busy activity centres on the large church of Aghios Ioannis Roussos, ‘St John the Russian’—the town’s miracle-working patron saint. ‘Prokopi’ is the name that Greek refugees coming from iœrgup (a Turkish corruption of the Greek ‘Prokopion’) in Cappadocia gave to this village when they arrived here in the mid 1920s. As well as a name, the refugees brought with them the body and relics of their guardian saint, a hermit and healer, born in Russia in 1690 and taken as a captive to central Anatolia in 1711 during the wars between the Sultan and Peter the Great. He died in iœrgup in 1730 at the age of 40. His presence in the church in Prokopi is the focus of an active and widespread cult which culminates on his feast day, 27 May. The relics—including the saint’s beret which the faithful still put on their heads when they visit—are in the small chapel on the left on entering: further inside the church on the left is the enbalmed body. Up until the ar rival of the refugees, Prokopi was known by its Ottoman name, ‘Ahmetağa’. Its recent history is closely intertwined with the Noel family, relatives of Byron, who purchased the surrounding land in the 1830s and whose manor house—in a curious hybrid of Greek, colonial, hacienda, and English suburban styles—overlooks the village from a wooded hill to the northwest.

Euboea Island, Greece

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