The Ascetic Tradition in Crete


The greatest hermitage in Crete was the naturally isolated, and impassable range of Asterousia in current southern Heraklion prefecture, where Saint Paul is said to have stayed for two years. Many caves from Saint Nikitas to Cape Lithino still host hermits. Relations between them were so limited that in Agiofarago and Martsalo they gathered only once a year, in cave Goumenospilios and counted how many of them survived each year.

Avvakospilio Cave at Koudoumas

West of Koudoumas Monastery lies Avvakospilio, a cavernous church where, according to tradition, Ossios Kosmas lived as an ascetic during the 7th century and where his remains were buried.


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