Saint Anthony of Berrhoea used to be a priest-monk who lived in a hermitage nearby the Haliacmon River. For the sake of true history, it has to be mentioned that he is reported to have lived in the Middle Ages, in the years preceding the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, the discovery of his relics is related to an intriguing account still reminisced about by older local residents.To begin/start with, a group of hunters is said to have entered a cave on the north bank of the Haliacmon, where the saint man expired, having seen a hand beckoning them in. This had obviously been a miracle, for the hunters got into the cavern only to find Saint Anthony’s fragrant bones. The story goes that the bishop of Berrhoea was invited on the occasion and the dead man’s sainthood (was) recognised. However, people from several districts of Emathia disputed over Saint Anthony’s birthplace. And this is how they decided to settle the whole matter: They put Saint Anthony’s relics on an ox-cart; the holy man ought to lie where the oxen, overwhelmed by tiredness, would stop. And this is the most astonishing part of the story. To put it clearly, the names of certain villages in our region are attributed to the route of that ox-cart. More specifically, the ox-cart in question is rumoured to have by-passed Xechasmene (forgotten village), crossed twice Stavros (cross), got through Diabatos (trodden path), traced a circular line around Couloura (bread roll), and finally made its way through the middle of Mese (middle) to reach a wild mulberry tree in the centre of Berrhoea, next to/beside which St Anthony’s Cathedral was to be built later on. At that point, the oxen wouldn’t budge an inch. After all, the cart was damaged because it had come to a halt having collided with the aforementioned mulberry…
ATTRACTIONS OF BERRHOEA AND ITS ENVIRONS
a) St Paul’s Tribune A contemporary monument commemorating St Paul’s visits to Berrhoea between 50 and 60 A.D. It stands at the place where the Apostle of Nations is believed to have preached Christianity. In effect, it consists of three majestic mosaics and a smaller one.
b) The Archaeological Museum Exhibits on display include Paleolithic findings as well as funeral gifts and votive stelae dating from the classical times down to the Roman Conquest era.
c) More than 40 mediaeval and post-mediaeval (Byzantine) churches Among those noticeable are the 12 Apostles’ Cathedral with its exquisite wood cut icon screen, the church dedicated to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the corner of Metropoleos and Contogeorgake Streets, decorated with impressive wall-paintings, and the Old Metropolitan Cathedral.
d) Elea Square – or the balcony of Berrhoea The perfect place for a breath of fresh air, a walk, or for children to play about/around. In any case, since the square overlooks the plain of Emathia, one can relish a magnificent view of the landscape, which resembles sea at night.
e) The 2 pedestrian precincts The former could roughly be characterised as a tiny commercial centre, as numerous shops selling ready-made clothes, footwear, and the like are situated there. The latter is crowded with traditional mansions intermingling with coffee bars, pubs, cafés, and tavernas.
f) The Archaeological Site in Vergina The world-known ancient palace and the Royal Tombs of King Philip II (360-336 B.C.), his wife Cleopatra, and a young Prince are all open to the public. Major exhibits include Philip’s gold crown stylishly fashioned into a pair of oak twigs, the renowned shrine bearing a sixteen-ray sun, the emblem of the Macedonian dynasty, unique fresco(e)s, and several tomb inscriptions in Greek, proving that Greece has been right to insist on the unquestionably Hellenic identity of Macedonia and its native population.
g) Bermion Ski Centre Perched on top of Bermion Mountain, it may well be the ideal destination of a daily excursion. Accommodation, climbing and/or hiking facilities are available, especially during winter months. Task 1: Your school will be host to a group of students from a Spanish Secondary School during the upcoming Christmas holidays. You are the secretary of the pupils’ council and you have been assigned by your English teacher the task of writing a letter of invitation to the headmaster/headmistress of the Spanish school, describing some of the local attractions your Spanish counterparts could see. You are required to refer to at least 4 attractions. Task 2: Write a letter to your pen friend from New Zealand inviting him/her to spend his/her Christmas vacation at your place. Mention at least 4 attractions in your area which might be of some interest to him/her.