Since the early Christian years, Crete became a cradle of Orthodox Christianity. This is reflected on the hundreds of religious monuments on the island. Even the struggles for liberation, in most cases, started from the monastic communities.
Religious tradition is very intense in all areas of Crete and is present in everyday life of the Cretans. Crete has an autonomous Archbishopric, separate from the rest of Greece. With thousands of places of worship and dozens of monasteries that have played a special role in the consolidation of Christianity and the struggle against the invaders, Crete is an ideal religious and historic destination.
Since the early Christian times, when Paul the Apostle visited Crete and preached the new religion for two years, the Christian tradition developed through the centuries. Remote places of monastic self-exile, traces of early Christian basilicas, cavernous chapels and painted Byzantine churches are found everywhere on Crete.
Many monasteries played an important historical role during the struggles of the Cretans for liberation. Moreover, Cretan iconography flourished especially in the Venetian Era, with El Greco and Michael Damascenus being the most important representatives.
Before continuing his journey to Rome, Paul the Apostle, stayed two years in Crete to preach Christianity. This was the starting point for a century-long ascetic tradition, which is still vivid and alive. Before leaving to Rome, his follower Titus, was announced the first bishop of Crete.
The new forbidden religion started spreading slowly around the island. Especially after the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which permanently established religious tolerance for Christianity within the Roman Empire, the first monumental temples were constructed.
According to tradition, Paul the Apostle lived for two years in a small cave at Kali Limenes, which is open to visitors.