Pilgrimage of Agios Nikolaos the Young
At the area of the village of Vounaina in Larissa and near the borders of the prefecture of Karditsa, at a beautiful location with elm trees, is one of the most important pilgrimages of Thessaly, dedicated to Agios Nikolaos the Young, who attracts flocks of believers from all over Greece.
The church is built at the location where the osios Nikolaos the Young became a martyr, who lived in the end of the 9th – beginning of the 10th century and he was an official at the Byzantine army in the area of Larissa. During the period of the Arab raids in Thessaly, he came into conflict with the Arab armies and, after they prevailed, he sought refuge to this area living next to the ascetics. He died as a martyr together with several of his soldiers and he was declared a saint sometime later. At the place where he died, at the roots of an oak tree, they buried him and initially there was a small church, built of local stone. At a later period, probably in the middle of the 18th century, they constructed next to it a larger church, which was destroyed by fire in 1880. During its construction, they added the four columns on its exterior and the roofed area alongside the side wall. This church was also destroyed by fire in 1962 and was reconstructed in the following year with donations and fund raisers, incorporating the area of the initial church.
The present day church is a modern building, and at its interior is the cenotaph of the saint and part from his sacred relic. The cenotaph is on the right of the entrance, a bit lower than the level of the church’s floor. At a nearby location, at the point where the oak tree stood under which the saint died, a small pilgrimage has been built. At the complex there have constructed modern, spacious hostels and auxiliary areas.