The Old Olive Trees of the Church of Panagia Chrysokourdaliotissa
Next to the west door of the katholikon of the Monastery of Panagia Chrysokourdaliotissa there are two old olive trees planted, probably in the 16th century, at the same time the church was built.
Agrielia (Wild Olive) is a long-living bush, essentially immortal. It has many branches, that get twisted, which, when dried, create new secondary shoots from the base and keeps growing, thus, the tree continues its life. Its leaves are small, short, oval, with a dark green on top and silver-white underneath. The silver color at the bottom of the olive leaf is due to the large number of multi-cellular blemishes present in the lower epidermis. Its fruit are small black olives that produce excellent quality oil. It is the famous ‘Agriolado’ (Wild oil), used in folk medicine as a medicine, on the skin and for other diseases.
The history of the Olive Tree is as old as the history of organized human societies. There are innumerable written sources, traditions, myths, excavation data, etc. proving the relationship of the Olive Tree with the history of man on Earth. Ancient Greeks regarded the olive as a symbol of glory and victory, which is why the Olympians were crowned with a wreath made from wild olive branches called a ‘Kallistefano’.