The Hermitages of Agiofarago

St Anthony


Saint Anthony Church at Agiofarago
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The name of the gorge Agiofaraggo means “Gorge of the Saints" and indicates that it was used by many hermits, who isolated themselves in the wild Asterousia range, far away from the inhabited areas of Crete. According to a legend, around three hundred hermits lived here in absolute isolation from each other. They met only once a year at Goumenospilios and then they were aware of those who had died the previous year. According to the "Neo Eklogion", once Saint Gregory of Sinai (1255-1347 AD) came to Agiofarago, where Saint Arsenios taught him about fasting and mental prayer. Then, together with his student Saint Gerasimos from Evoea went to Mount Athos.

Going down the canyon and about 250 meters before the amazing beach Agiofarago, one meets the church of Saint Anthony, which was a monastery and the center of the asceticism of the area, today owned by the Monastery of Panagia Odigitra near Sivas. The church of Saint Anthony is believed to have been renovated three times to get its current form. First, it was a small church in a small cave in the rock, but as the years passed and the number of hermits grew, the need for expanding the church emerged. The last renovation was carried out in the 14th or 15th century and it is the present church. It's of excellent religious architecture and bore murals, but due to the proximity to the sea, the murals have been destroyed by salt and pirate raids.

Outside the church there is a well from which water is supplied to the hermits because there is no nearby source. South of the church on a small hill there is a circular Minoan tomb which shows the human presence from Minoan era. Descending from the church to the sea on the left side and a short distance from the church there is cave Goumenospilios.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Walking

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