Saint John the Hermit Cave

Marathokefala

Saint John the Hermit Cave at Marathokefala
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At the area Marathokefala at village Spilia, 25 km west of Chania and just 3 km from Kolymbari, lies the famous historical cave of Saint John the Hermit (Agios Ioannis Xenos) in which, according to tradition, lived this saint of Crete that founded the rich ascetic tradition of the island. Inside the cave there is temple of the 15th century and the foundations of old cells that date back in the 17th-18th century.

In the area, locals found a marble altar (kept in the museum of the parish of Spilia) and a marble head of a child and it is believed that the cave was used as a sanctuary since the pre-Christian Era.

On the left of the cave lies the crypt where Saint John the Hermit hided by the frequent visits of the shepherds and farmers. Attached to this, there is a small room that was used as a Secret School during the Ottoman Era. Next to the temple, a crack on the rock drips water throughout the year, "the holy water of Agios Ioannis" as told, which is stored in a small tank for visitors.

On 6-7 October takes place the feast of Saint John the Hermit and on December 24, on Christmas Eve, the Nativity of Christ is represented with real animals, and is very famous throughout Greece.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Byzantine Era (395 AD-820AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

Media

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