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SAINT JOHN VAZELON
The oldest monastery of Pontus which was named in memory of Saint Ioannis Prodromou
It was built in 270 AD at Matsouka
close to the Sachnoi
villages, 40 kilometres south of Trapezounta
(current day Trabzon, in
Turkey) beside the river Pritani
. In earlier times it was named ‘Zouvalon'
however it was later named ‘Vazelon' or ‘Vazelonas'
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 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.
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.
Source: The Encyclopaedia of Pontian Hellenism