Saint John the Evangelist


Saint John the Evangelist, Kritsa
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The settlement of St. John the Evangelist, whose core was the former monastic complex of the monastery of St. John, is situated between the villages Kritsa and Kroustas. According to local tradition the monastery was founded in the second Byzantine period and it is known that it functioned until the late 19th century.

The church in its current form has three naves. The middle aisle is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and celebrates on September 26, while the other two are dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ (Lord Jesus) and Saint Charalambos. All three aisles are arched and are internally linked with low-arched openings and a cross-section to the west. The church has entrances on the north and south, bearing slightly pointed relieving arches. All of the openings, door frames, windows and ‘agiothyrida’ (agiothyrido stands for ‘gate of the saints’, and it is the name given to the east-facing sanctuary window of Greek Orthodox churches), are decorated with stone relief frames. The church is still decorated with frescoes dating back to 1347 - 1348 according to an inscription.

The monastery is referred to as having its own monastic dependency, its own property and having an administrative dependence on the large monastery of Toplou in Sitia (Panagia Akrotiriani), to which it must have become attached in the 16th or 17th century (1994 Psilakis, II, 506). Various references to the monastery and its monks are made in documents of the 19th century. In 1925, however, the cells that surround the catholicon and the lands of the monastery were donated by the monastery to refugees from Asia Minor.

The oldest element of dating is the processional cross of the monastery which has been linked to a number of miracles and is now kept at the Historical Museum of Crete. It probably dates to the 13th century.

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Additional Info

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

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