Apart from the ascetic Centre of Asterousia Massif, the plane of Messara and the south outskirts of the Ida Range hosted numerous small monasteries, which are today deserted. Here we do not meet many cavernous hermitages, in contrast to Asterousia, but mainly organized small communities.
The Baptistery of St. Paul is located at the entrance of the village Agios Ioannis (St John), near Phaestus. According to tradition, when the Apostle Paul came to Crete and headed to the capital of the island (Gortyn) passed from the point where he taught Christianity for two days.
The church of St. George at F(a)landra position is located near Phaistos and was the temple of a small monastery. Next to the church are preserved tombs of the Venetian Era (1581).
The church of Agios Georgios by the village Agia Triada dates back to the Byzantine era and bears frescoes dating back from the 13th to 14th century.
South of Ano Moulia, at a rural location full of olive trees, there is the church of Saint Theodore the Sanctified. Saint Theodore the Sanctified celebrates on 16 May. This is an extremely rare Saint and this church is the only one in Crete honored in his name. Throughout the Greek area there is a second temple in Ithaca.
The village Agii Deka (Ten Saints) is named after the ten Cretan Christians that martyred there during the persecutions carried out by Decius in 250 AD. At the point where they martyred, at position Alonion, there is the three-aisled basilica of the 12th century.
The church of St. John was built during the Venetian period in Crete and it probably was full of frescoes. The frescoes were unfortunately whitewashed. A few years ago the Archaeological Service uncovered some parts of the original hagiographic decoration. The walls however even today remain whitewashed.
In the middle of the village Apomarmas we meet the Byzantine church of Panagia Galaktousa, dating back from the 13th century. According to tradition the founder used milk instead of water in the mortar, thus the name Galaktousa (milky) was given. In fact the name probably is connected with the icon of the Virgin suckling Christ.
Just outside the charming village Panassos we meet the chapel of St. John Rigologos. St. John is accessed via a rough dirt road crossing a region with ancient olive trees and strange rocks formations full of ancient carvings. The area hosts the remains of a Minoan farmhouse and ancient stone quarries.