Religious Monuments of Malevizi


Panagia Kera Eleousa monastery, Kitharida
(2 votes)

The highly impressive temple of Saint Fanourios at Kitharida, currently used as the cemetery of the village, was the temple of the important male monastery of Panagia Eleousa (Our Lady the Merciful). Its function is attested throughout the period of Venetian rule and Ottoman rule until the end of the 19th century, when it was deserted. Today, its temple, a few ruined cells and the collapsed school, which served as a monitorial school during the period 1841-1866, survive.

The church consists of three naves dedicated to Saint Charalambos, the Dormitios of Theotokos and Saint Fanourios, and a narthex placed in front of the sanctuary in 12th-13th century. One of the most important interventions was the reconstruction of the central, eastern and transverse aisles in the 15th century. On every aisle there is a dome; the fact that there is a dome over the sanctuary is very rare in the Cretan churches. The orientation of the arches, which face the north instead of the east, is probably related to a pre-existing building.

Inside, frescoes are preserved in fragments. The exterior of the church is decorated with circular plates (pinakia) with special paintings, mainly of birds, from which a Spanish plate of the early 15th century stands out with the inscription "Ave Maria gratia plena", which is the beginning of the most widespread Latin prayer in the Virgin Mary.

According to a gospel of the monastery of Sinai in 1175, Kera Eleousa was rebuilt on the site of damaged buildings, but the identification of this reference with the monastery of Kitharida is unsafe as there were other monasteries of the same name in the area of Candia (Heraklion). In 1822 the monks were massacred by the Turks, the monastery was looted and the rich library was burned, but it was soon rebuilt. Since then, the Monastery of Saint Irene in Krousonas came under its jurisdiction, since it had also been destroyed in 1822.


  • 11th century: The Monastery of Kera Merciful is operating already.
  • 1175: The monastery gets reconstructed because the buildings are already very old. The venue is owned by the monk Theophilus.
  • 1204-1669 (Venetian Era): The narthex is attached.
  • 1672: The monk Neophytos lives “at a monastery near Sarchos”, probably the monastery of Kitharida
  • 1696: The abbot of the monastery is called Gerasimos.
  • 1745: The Turks give permission for the restoration of the ruined temple.
  • 1822: The Turks of Sherif Pasha massacre the monks and burn the monastery. The library gets burned and the sacred vessels are looted.
  • 1825: The reconstruction of the monastery starts.
  • 1841-1866: A school starts its operation in the monastery.
  • 1842: The monastery is deserted.
  • 1858:A new trial for reconstructing the monastery starts by Abbot Meletios .
  • 1860: The economical state of monastery is in a tragic situation.
  • Revolution of 1866: The Turks destroy the monastery and the school.
  • 1894: Reconstruction efforts do not succeed and the monastery gets deserted.
  • 1898: There is a caretaker for the property, but the monastery has terminated its operation.

hotels booking Crete

Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

Also read:

Download Free Premium Joomla Templates • FREE High-quality Joomla! Designs