The Monastery of



Kapsas Monastery
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The Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kapsas is located 9km east of Makrygialos, near Goudouras. The monastery is part of the monastery of Toplou near Sitia and is dedicated to the Epitome of the Sacred Head of Saint John the Forerunner, which celebrates on August 29.

The Kapsa monastery is built like a fortress on a steep rocky slope above the sea, at the exit of the beautiful Pervolakia gorge. In front of it is the beautiful pebble beach of Kapsa.

In a cave next to the monastery, Iosif Gerontogiannis practiced asceticism when he lost his daughter. Then he turned to God and renounced his earlier impious life. It is said that he performed many miracles, saw divine apparitions, walked on the sea as far as the opposite Koufonisi, and that he healed with the help of God from every disease. In fact, the testimonies of his miracles are many. Saint Joseph Gerontogiannis 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 for 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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