The Monastery of



Kapsas Monastery
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The Monastery of St. John in Kapsas is located 9km east of Makrigialos next to Goudouras. This is owned by Toplou Monastery, near Sitia, and is dedicated to the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, celebrated on August 29.

The monastery is built like a fort on a steep rocky hillside above the sea, at the sides of the beautiful gorge of Pervolakia. In front of it there is a beautiful pebbly beach.

In a cave nearby lived the monk Joseph Gerontoyannis, who is said that made the monastery famous because he could do wonders. He could see divine visions, walk on the sea till the opposite island of Koufonissi and heal any illness. Today he is honored on August 7.


  • 13-14th century: The monastery is founded
  • 1471: Pirates destroy the monastery and the area gets deserted
  • 15th century: The region is re-inhabited by locals. Among them, there is someone called Giovanni Capsas (hence the name Kapsas). The monastery is still ruined, except from a small church built in the rock.
  • 1841: The hermit Joseph Gerontogiannis lives in the cave next to the monastery and starts restoring it.
  • 1861: Another aisle is built, dedicated to Holy Trinity.
  • 1869: Minas Hatzis builds the temple of the monastery
  • 1874: Gerontoyannis dies. Today he is honored as Saint Joseph Gerontoyannis (7 August).
  • Late 19th Century: The grandson of Gerontoyannis continues the work of his grandfather, by building new rooms and supplying Kapsas with water.
  • 1941: Allies hide from Germans in the monastery during the German Occupation of Crete.
  • 1943: Following the orders of the Germans, the Abbot Hilarion Syntichakis and all monks abandon the monastery of Kapsas.
  • 1945: The Germans leave Crete and the monks come back.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Monastery
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Phone: +30 28430 51458

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