Religious Monuments of Crete


Panagia monastery at Gourni
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The church of Panagia in the area Gourni is located north of Kapistri (Stavros) village, on the road to Panagia Keragrameni. According to tradition, the name Gourni (trough) was taken after a small trough that the monks had placed on the adjacent river to collect water.

The two-naved temple was built at different phases. The southern aisle is dedicated to the Dormition of Theotokos, dates back from the end of the 14th century and bears a vertical aisle (pronaos). The north aisle is dedicated to the Ascension of the Savior and was added in the 16th century. Then the aisles were united with an arch and many frescoes of the south aisle were destroyed. The arch that merged the main church with the transverse aisle was also built then.

Outside the sanctuary of the north aisle there are five cross-shaped panels. Out of the two aisles, only the south is adorned with frescoes from the early 15th century. In the conch we see Panagia Platytera and in the middle of the arch is the Ascension of the Lord. Also to the south we see the enthroned Christ, Saint John the Baptist and other Saints. The old Byzantine icons were stolen in 1965 and replaced with new ones.

Outside the temple and within a 50-meter radius around it there are cell ruins, tombs and various other buildings and facilities (threshing floor, mill, wine press, cistern etc.) that testify that a monastery once operated here. According to tradition, many bishops of Ierapetra used the monastery as a winter bishop, while they used Panagia Vriomeni at Meseleri in summer. Also in 1928 a seal was found in the area with the title "Holy Monastery of Gourni" which is preserved today in Faneromeni Monastery.

The monastery was destroyed during the Turkish occupation. The monastery, which owned many dependencies, was looted by the Turks during the reign of monk Dorotheos. The church was restored around the end of the 19th century and then its belfry was built.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Dirt track

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