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Vazelon Monastery is located in Maçka district, Trabzon Province, Turkey. It was built in 270 AD and is located 40 kilometers south of Trabzon. After Emperor Justinian I ordered it to be repaired in 565 AD, it has since been renovated many times up to the present day. The current buildings date from the rebuilding in 1410.
Vazelon Monastery was of vital importance in the region of Maçka, especially in regards to 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 in the region. The frescoes on the north outer walls of the church of Heaven, Hell and the Last Judgement still bear their original beauty.
The monastery was attacked and ruined on numerous occasions by invading forces, mainly Persians and Turks. In 490 it was attacked and ruined by the Sassanid Persians, who also killed the 400 living at the monastery. During the Ottoman Turkish rule (1453–1922) the monastery was razed many times. 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. in 1922 it was totally destroyed, leaving it in its current state of ruins.
Only one item remains from the monastery's archive, and it is now located at the Leningrad Museum. Following its final destruction in 1922, the monastery's last monk, Dionysios Amarantidis, saved the icon of Saint John the Forerunner, which he subsequently transported and guarded at the monastery of Agia Triada, located in Serres, Greece.
The monastery was abandoned in 1922 following the expulsion of the Greek population from Turkey as a result of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
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