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Vazelon Monastery

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Vazelon Monastery is located in Maçka district, Trabzon Province, Turkey. It was built in 270 AD abd is located 40 kilometers south of Trabzon. After is was repaired by the order of the Emperor Justinian in 565, it has been repaired a lot of times until today [1].

The monastery was attacked and ruined many times by regional enemies mainly the Persians and the Turks. In 490 it was attacked and ruined by the Persians who also killed the 400 monks of the monastery. During Ottoman Turkish rule (1453-1922) the monastery was ruined many times and in 1922 it was totally destroyed leaving it in it's current state of ruins.

Vazelon Monastery was of vital importance in the region of Maçka; its religious, cultural and economic life. It is said that Sümela Monastery was built from the income of the Vazelon Monastery which was the wealthiest of the region. The frescoes on the north outer walls of the church, the Heaven, Hell and the Last Judgement, still bear their original beauty.

In 1821, Chrysanthos, the Prior of the monastery, was able to avoid a general massacre of the 40 surrounding Christian villages via diplomatic means and the use of the monastery's enormous wealth.

Of the monastery's rich archives only one item was saved and is now located at the Leningrad Museum. Following it's final destruction in 1922, the monastery's last monk Dionysios Amarantidis, saved the icon of Saint Ioannis Prodromou which he transported and guarded at the monastery of Agia Triada, Serres, Greece.

The monastery was abandoned in 1922 following the expulsion of the Orthodox Greek population from Turkey as a result of the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

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