Religious Monuments of Monofatsi


Panagia Almiri monastery
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The church of Panagia Almyri (Salty Virgin Mary) belongs to the parish of Megali Vrissi and is one of the largest pilgrimages of Messara Plain. Especially, on the celebration day of the church (feast of Ascension) hundreds of people flock from all corners of Crete.

The tradition reads that the church was founded in the early Christian Era, when Apostle Paul preached Christianity at the point where the church is located today. The lord of Phaestus then, raged by the presence of Paul, sent his son to challenge Paul to hit his stick on a rock and make the rock flow salty water. Indeed, once hit, salty water came out from the rock and the son later became a hermit in a nearby cave (now housing the church of Agia Paraskevi). Around the salty spring the church was built.

Panagia Almiri is associated with childless women who seek help for conceiving a child. The church was three aisled, but today survive two aisles (dedicated to the Ascension and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary) bearing frescoes of the 9th-10th century. On the floor of the temple there is the well of the salty spring.

The surrounding buildings are home to needy families, who in turn look after the temple.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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