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December 9, 2021

The Underground Chapel of Saint Anna in Rhodope

There is a small underground chapel dedicated to Saint Anna between Xylagani and Maroneia in Rhodope of Northern Greece, in the middle of nowhere. Eugenia Katrani has given her own testimony about how she located the chapel:

"25-30 years ago, I worked at the Forest Service on the mountain. While I was sleeping I had a dream that I was entering a chapel, but it was like an furnace, because I was going down some stairs and the oil lamp was extinguished and I lit it. I saw the icon and I saw that it was of Saint Anna. I remembered in the dream that it was in the area of Maroneia; I saw nothing else.

There was a girl from Komotini that I worked with and she told me she would treat me today because she was celebrating, December 9th. And when she said that today was the day of Saint Anna, then I began to remember my dream and I said: my dream has significance.

We said one day in the summer to go with two friends to Maroneia to ask if there is any Chapel of Saint Anna. The  guy at the kiosk told us it exists, but it is difficult to go to. He said he had a job and could not come and show it to us. The commander of the Aviation area gave us permission, we passed and took the asphalt road that goes on radars, but we did not find it. We went to turn back and on the road we saw goats around 200-300 meters away. We said that in order for there to be goats, there will also be a shepherd, and we went to ask. We went to the spot and I saw in front of me the cross (from the chapel).

Outside the chapel, there are three or four large oaks. The shepherd told us that in the war the place had caught fire, but the oaks were not burned and it was a miracle. 
Since then we go with both snow and rain. We do not let the oil lamp go out. The whole family has Saint Anna as our protectress. Since then, every year on December 8 (the day before the feast) we go and light the oil lamp because it is off. Now you do not need to get a permit (from the Air Force) to go. It is close to the camps (of the Metropolis)."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.