The Monastery of

Diskouri

Rethymnon

Diskouri Monastery
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The monastery of Diskouri is located 43km east of Rethymnon and is considered one of the oldest monasteries in Crete. Its age is evidenced by the nearby richly decorated Byzantine church of St. John the Baptist.

The complex, owned today by the monastery of Halepa, is believed to have been built over an ancient temple of Dioscuri, but this is not proved. It acquired its current form in the last years of the Venetian rule, when it resembled a fortress.

In the center of the courtyard there is the church of St. George. The old icon of St. George is famous to the Cretan herders who swear on that when they are accused of stealing animals.

The monastery was badly damaged by the Turks and the distasteful interventions of the 20th century, so it has substantially altered its initial form. In the courtyard were buried the bishops Parthenios and Meletios, and the chieftain of Arkadi Monastery, Paul Dedidakis.

Timeline

  • 1630: Basilicata mentions the settlement of Diskouri, apparently meaning the monastery.
  • 1658: A document says that a woman, named Flora, devotes her entire estate to the monastery Diskourios.
  • 1808: The Turks destroy the monastery and church of St. George.
  • 1824: The monastery is burned and destroyed by the Turks.
  • 1824-41: The monks Simeon Meletios come back and restore the monastery for twenty years.
  • 1830: The icon screen of the monastery is constructed.
  • 1832: Kallinikos Nikoletakis is elected as the local Bishop and offers the famous icon of St. George in Diskouri. On this icon, the local shepherds swear when they refuse stealing others’ sheeps and goats.
  • 1856: A great earthquake causes severe damages to the monastery.
  • 1866: During the revolution of 1866-69, the revolutionary committees of Mylopotamos, Malevizi, Temenos and Messara provinces use Diskouri as their base. The chieftains of Mylopotamos use Diskouri for storing ammunition and foodstuffs. The monastery also serves as a small hospital.
  • 1869: The Turks burn the monastery.
  • 1890-97: The monastery is partially restored.
  • 1900: The monastery is declared as about stop its operation, but its monks stay here.
  • 1935: It is attached to the monastery of Chalepa.
  • 1950: The monastery is renovated and its traditional architecture is substantially altered. The monastery gets gradually deserted.
  • 1993: The monk Rafail Mainolas starts a large restoration program.

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Additional Info

  • Prefecture: Rethymnon
  • Type: Monastery
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Phone: +30 28340 41277

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