Religious Monuments of Crete


The province Monofatsi is one of the most important religious centers of Crete, as it hosted many flourishing monasteries and hermitages. Apart from the isolated religious centre of Asterousia Mountains, which we study separately, small monasteries were also scattered throughout the province.

Saint John the Apostle church near Agia Varvara

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 St. John the Theologian. 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 Theologian, 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.


Church of Saint Onesimus at Metaxochori

Here we meet the small church of St. Onesimus, the only one dedicated to St. Onesimus in Crete. Saint Onesimus was a slave of Phrygia who escaped from his master and went to Rome in order to meet the Apostle Paul. He is considered the patron saint of prisoners and judgers.


Church of Archangel Michael at Agios Thomas

The church of the Archangel Michael is located in the village of Agios (St) Thomas and is single-aisled temple with "archaic" frescoes of the 12th-13th century.


Church of Saint Josaphat at Agios Thomas

The unusual and impressive carved chapel of St. Ioasaf the Indian is located on the site of an ancient Greek temple, the ruins of which are still around the courtyard. It celebrates on August 26 and there is only one more church dedicated to Saint Ioasaf, in Thrace (North Greece).


Cathedral of Saint Thomas at Agios Thomas

The area of St. Thomas at Monofatsi province can easily be described as a religious park, as it hosted 38 churches in the past. The most spectacular of all still stands still in the center of the village. It is the Byzantine church dedicated to St. Thomas, an aisled basilica with a narthex in front.


Church of Saint George Chostos at Pirouniana

Next to Axedianos River and close to settlement Pirouniana we meet the Byzantine church of Saint George Hostos. The original building had a dome and later it was extended. The part with the dome bears frescoes in fair condition.


Axenti Village and Church

The deserted settlement Axenti is located amongst the most fertile fields and forests of oak in the area and was blessed to have several water springs. There is a lovely trail starting from Pirouniana, crossing the oak forest of Papoura, coming across carved wine presses, water mills, the church of St. George Chostos and a waterfall, and reaching Axenti after 15 minutes.


Church of Zoodohos Pigi at Rouma

Near the villages Alagni, on a low hill, lies the deserted village of Rouma. We do not know when it was founded, but it is referred in the census of 1630. Rouma in the Cretan dialect means stream and is taken after the stream next to the village, where a spring with fresh water flows all year round.


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