Panagia Monastery


Panagia Paplinou Monastery
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The monastery of Panagia Paplinou is located 10km east of Ierapetra, near Katharades area and in relatively close proximity to the sea (2km). The monastery is not inhabited today, but its church celebrates on August 15.

The monastery belongs to the parish of Vainia village and does not remind anything of its historical and serious events that took place here. The church is a small renovated temple, which has been added a second aisle dedicated to St. Fanourios. The monastery was probably built during the Venetian Era and its original use was not monastic. This last conclusion is derived from the fact that the monastery is built close to the beach and is easily accessible, while it was used to build monasteries in inaccessible areas so as to be well protected from pirates.

The female monastery is known for one of the most tragic atrocities that have occurred on the island. After the Revolution of 1821, the janissary Mehmet Pilavas with his friends stayed in the monastery for several days, eating and drinking. On the last day they raped the nuns and then cut their breasts and their genitals! Having made these despicable acts, they plundered the monastery. By boat, they moved to Koufonisi islet where they killed the local shepherds and stole their sheep. When the news was rumored to the chieftains of Ierapetra, they went to Koufonissi and killed all the Turks, except three who escaped.


  • 16th-17th century: The monk Papoulinos founds the monastery of Our Lady (Panagia)
  • 1823: The janissary Mehmet Pilavas and his partners rape the nuns of Paplinou and plunder the monastery. The monastery is deserted.
  • 1841: Panagia Paplinou is granted to Toplou Monastery and its renovation starts. Like Toplou, it also becomes Stavropegic, i.e. managed directly by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
  • 1900: The monastery is dissolved by Act of the Cretan State and handed to the parish of Vainia.
  • 1903: The monastery reoperates as a branch of Toplou Monastery for a few years until closed.
  • 1956: The present church is renovated by the brothers John and Pantelis Psilinakis. The aisle of St. Fanourios is built.

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Additional Info

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

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