Religious monuments of Kissamos


Saint John Gionas monastery
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The monastery of Saint John is located at Cape Rodopou (or Spatha), 37km northwest of Chania and 9.5km away from the village Rodopou, at a small plateau named Giona. With the nearby former monastery of Peter and Paul, a few kilometers north, they flourished during the late Venetian Era. After the conquest of Crete by the Turks both monasteries were handed to the powerful monastery Hodeghetria Gonia.

The monastery is mentioned in the cencus of the churches and monasteries of the year 1637 as the monastery of St. John Hionas. Another option tells that the monastery was the "hermitage" of the monastery of St. Paul.

The temple is a double-aisled, with the second aisle dedicated to Saint Nicholas (December 6). Around it there are ruins of monk cells while two millstones on site imply that there was an olive press. In 1995, during restoration works, seven tombs were revealed beneath the floor, probably for priests and monks.

There are too many legends and stories of miracles for Saint George monastery. That is why every year, on August 29 when the feast of Giona takes place, pilgrims arrive from all over the island.

For the plane tree outside the temple, a legend says that the monk of the monastery once brought a branch from Nopigia. When he returned exhausted from the hot sun, he nailed the branch into the ground and said: "if the Holy (meaning Saint George) is miraculous, this stick will grow".

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Monastery
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
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