Holy Church of Saint Gregory the Theologian
Just 10 kilometers from the town of Kavala, in the center of the neighboring city of Nea Karvali, stands the Holy Church of Saint Gregory the Theologian, where most of the relics of the saint are kept. This is one of the most important sights of the region and a major pilgrimage place, which attracts a huge number of believers from all over Greece and abroad.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus - Archbishop of Constantinople was alongside the great Fathers of the Church in the years 379 to 381. He was an opponent of the Aryan heresy, a remarkable orator and theologian, the author with a rich heritage. Until 1924 his relics were kept in the Cappadocian village of Karvali, in a temple consecrated in his honor.
In 1924 Greek refugees from Asia Minor brought them together with other relics to their new homeland - to the village of Nea Karvali in the vicinity of Kavala, where they built a new temple. It began to be erected in 1924 and was consecrated in 1950. In 1973 it was declared a holy place of pilgrimage.
This is a modern building of large dimensions, built in new Byzantine style. It is a long three-nave basilica, which in the eastern part has a transverse nave-transept crowned with a dome, and in the western part there are two bell-towers. The temple is a copy of the Byzantine church of St. Gregory in Cappadocia's Karvali.
The temple of St. Gregory Nazianzus the Theologian is declared a monument and is under the protection of the state. Inside it the main place is occupied by the relics of St. Gregory which are stored in a gilded sarcophagus. The temple feast is celebrated on January 25, and this celebration is an event of special significance for the entire region.
By the way although almost all the relics of St. Gregory the Theologian are in the temples and monasteries of Greece (in Karvali, the monasteries of Athos and Meteora), since 1653 in Moscow is a great shrine - part of the honest head of the great St. Gregory the Theologian. This shrine was donated to Tsar of Russia Alexei Mikhailovich and is still in the main temple of the Russian Orthodox Church - the Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin.
"I want to say courageously and strongly that you become the best, so that you turn from the fleshly to the spiritual, so that you will be properly elevated in your spirit" Saint Gregory the Theologian liked to say.