The Monastery of

Faneromeni

Lassithi

Faneromeni Monastery near Sitia
(2 votes)

The Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni (Revealed Virgin Mary) in Trachilas area of Sitia is located on the edge of a steep area between the Cape Trachilas and Babakia, about 1.5km away from the sea and 8km west of Sitia town. It is built in a lush green area, next to the small gorge of Agii Pantes (All Saints), ideal for an easy walk. Inside the gorge there are many caves where the hermits of the monastery lived.

In the center of the monastery, there is the two-aisled church dedicated to the Assumption (celebrating on 15 August) and St. George (3 November). The church is full with very old frescoes dating back to 1455, but being blackened by a fire probably caused by the Turks. Around the yard, there several small buildings, forming a little settlement, where the pilgrims stay in August, when the monastery celebrates. Apart from these modern buildings, there are six very old monk cells that all retain their medieval architectural style. You will also see the "Big Cell" with the medieval arch which operated as a fabrica (olive oil mill). There is also the "Oven-house", where the monks kneaded their bread.

The name Faneromeni (=Revealed) derives from the icon of Virgin Mary found that once appeared in the small cave, the “Hermit’s Cave”, located just next to the sanctuary of the temple. According to tradition, once a shepherd found this small icon of Virgin Mary in this cave and stored that in his bag, with his brunch. After arriving at his home, he told his wife to open the bag and see something. She however found only the food. Indeed, the next day, the shepherd revisited the cave and saw that the picture re-appeared at the same place (=> Faneromeni). He took that again, but the same procedure repeated twice. Then he realized that it was the will of Virgin Mary to stay there and he called two monks, who built a monastery there. Even today the small icon is stored in the hole of the cave.

Today the monastery is almost deserted. Only on 15th of August it is crowded by the pilgrims that arrive from the surrounding area. Then a traditional ceremony takes place here, when the icon of the Virgin Mary, the "Revealed Lady" is transferred on foot from the church of St George in Skopi, accompanied by the pilgrims.

Timeline

  • 13th-14th century: The monastery is founded by hermit Ioannikios
  • 1538: Pirate Barbarossa destroyes the monastery
  • 1624: Monk Gennadios restores Faneromeni
  • 1829: The Turks destroy the monastery and the paintings and the monks manage to escape.
  • 1879: The monastery is renovated, but only a few monks settle there.
  • 1870: Monastery of Toplou takes the ownership of Faneromeni, but still the monks are too few.
  • 1901: The monastery stops operating due to lack of monks and the locals react strongly. After legal battles against Toplou Monastery, the monastery passes to the ownership of Skopi village. Since then, the real property of Faneromeni shrinks for many years.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Monastery
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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