Saint John church near Agia Varvara


Saint John the Apostle church near Agia Varvara
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Between the villages Agia Varvara and Megali Vrysi, on a plateau full of vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, and oaks we meet the church of Saint John the Apostle (Agios Ioannis Theologos). This point is located at 600 meters altitude, in the center of the island, and is of particular geological interest because it is the highest point in Crete where we meet marine fossils and shells. The church of St. John the Apostle, which still dominates the area, is surrounded by a large number of dilapidated buildings that are probably the remains of a medieval hamlet or monk cells. There is neither written evidence nor oral tradition which makes us conclude that it was probably deserted violently.

The only information we have about the church's history is that during WWII a bomb exploded a few meters behind the sanctuary of the church. The bomb caused a still visible mark on the wall of the sanctuary, but without destroying it. The church exterior is magnificent and quite tall and is identical to the cemetery church of Agia Pelagia in Agia Varvara located nearby. According to tradition, the same craftsman built both temples. The temple dates back from the later period of Venetian rule in Crete and a few years before the advent of the Turks. Inside there is the tombstone floor and there is the outside of the temple's impressive arcosolium.

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Additional Info

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

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