The monastery of Agia Marina is located 500m south of the village of Voni and during its feast day (July 17) huge crowds arrive from all over Greece. The number of people arriving at Agia Marina is the highest in Crete, with car queues of many kilometers. There are many vendors before reaching the church. Many are those who vow to Agia Marina and come on foot to the monastery from Heraklion city.
The monastery was founded in 1895 by John Kaparounakis at the side where it is said that he drank water from a spring and that helped him miraculously recover from a serious disease. There was already a small chapel at the point, but was owned by a Turk, Hosref Pasha, who did not want to allow the construction of the monastery. It is said that Agia Marina then intervened and chastised the Turk by sickening his three children. Once he realized what happened, he found Kaparounakis and sold his property. Then, the existing church was renovated and the convent of Agia Marina was built.
Agia Marina is patron of the sick children and there are many incidences with miracles at the monastery. You will get impressed by the room with various personal items of those who lived their miracle, e.g. crutches.
- 1895: John Kaparounakis recovers from a serious disease. The miracle is attributed to holy water coming out next to a ruined chapel.
- 1901: Kaparounakis founds the monastery of Agia Marina, after rebuilding the ruined church with the help of locals. One of the largest pilgrimages in Greece starts its route.