Religious Monuments of Crete


The remote province of Sitia hosted several monasteries and convents, most of which followed the decline of the settlements and are now abandoned, retaining only their temples.

Church of Saint John at Vai

On the hillside just before the palm grove of Vai, province Sitia, we meet the picturesque chapel of St. John the Theologian. Saint John is a typical temple of east Crete; it is single aisled and quite old. It belongs to the neighbouring monastery of Toplou. From the temple, the view to the palm grove and the wider valley is very nice. The church is very old but the interior does bear any frescoes.


Saint George Samakidis monastery

In a lush green ravine formed between Analipsis and Pefki we meet the former monastery of St. George of Samakidis. The church celebrates on November 3rd and is built in a cave. According to tradition, in 1471 Joseph Samakidis, who lived in the monastery of Panagia Kera by village Pilalimata left his monastery due to pirate raid.


Panagia monastery at Lygia

The small monastery of Panagia at Ligia is dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Spring) and is located in a wooded area near village Stavrochori, province Sitia. There are several dirt roads leading to the site, with the most passable (5.2 km long) starting from the church of Agios Fanourios on the road that connects Koutsouras with Stavrohori.


Agios Athanasios church at Lithines

The central square of the picturesque village Lithines in the province Sitia hosts the Old School, which today operates as a cultural center. Just a few meters further we meet the Byzantine church of Agios Athanasios, dating back to the 15th century, but it does not bear frescoes.


Church of Saint John the Apostle in Mesa Mouliana

The imposing three-aisled church of Saint John the Theologian (Agios Ioannis) in Mesa Mouliana is located at the edge of the village and is the result of successive interventions in the original medieval Byzantine single-aisled church. .


Church of Panagia at Epano Episkopi

The three-aisled church of Panagia is located in the center of the village Epano Episkopi near Sitia and is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, to Saint John the Baptist and Saint George.


Church of the Holy Apostles in Kato Episkopi

Ο μικρός οικισμός της Κάτω Επισκοπής Σητείας υπήρξε πιθανότατα έδρα της Επισκοπής Σητείας κατά τη δεύτερη βυζαντινή περίοδο. Στο νεκροταφείο του χωριού βρίσκεται ο ναός των Αγίων Αποστόλων Πέτρου και Παύλου, ο οποίος αποτελεί μετασκευασμένο λουτρό του 11ου αιώνα, πιθανώς της επισκοπικής κατοικίας που βρισκόταν απέναντι.


Christ Savior church at Pandeli (Handras)

The church of Christ the Savior is located in the lush location of Mesa Pandeli or Pano Pandeli, on the outskirts of the village Chandras in province Sitia, and is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior.


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