Kallergis Monastery near Kasteli
The monastery of Kallergis or Kaleris is located southeast of Smari village, about 35km east of Heraklion and 4km north of Kastelli. It is built in a wooded area with many hills and mountainous morphology.
The monastery, built during the Venetian Era, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is a dependency of Vidiani Monastery in Lassithi Plateau. The monastery in its present form is relatively new and is believed to have been built on the ruins of an older monastery, ruined cells of which are preserved in the nearby church of Prophet Elijah.
Today, the monastery is restored by the "Friends of the Monastery Kalergis" Associaton. The main building and the refectory have been restored. Outside the monastery complex there is a newer two-aisled church dedicated to St. George and St. Spyridon. Also, there's a chapel dedicated to the Cretan Martyrs (those Cretans who died for their Faith).
History in short
- 1204-1645: The monastery of Kalergis is founded during the Venetian period, but it gets abandoned during the Turkish rule.
- 1884: The abbot of Vidiani monastery, Methodios Perakis, buys the ruined Kalergis complex by the Muslim Salicha Liatikopoula who had the entire farmland in her possesion.
- 1912: The monastery is renovated by Nicephorus Velivasakis and Evlambia Dolapsaki.
- 1931: A large part of the monasterial olive groves is burned by fire.
- 1938: The renovators of Kallergis monastery die and the abbey gets deserted.
- 1988: The monk Ierotheos Alexakis settles in the ruined monastery Kallergis.
- 1990: The monk Ierotheos starts the restoration and the reconstruction of the monastery.
- 1998: The monk Ierotheos dies and noone lives in Kallergis monastery. The restoration is continued by the "Friends of the Monastery Kalergis".