Saint George Monastery

Epanosifis

Heraklion

Monastery of St. George Apanosifis
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The Monastery of St. George Apanosifis or Epanosifis is located about 30km south of Heraklion, near Metaxohori village. It is the largest male monastery in Crete (in monk number). The spiritual and social contribution of the monastery during the difficult years of Turkish occupation was invaluable.

The monastery was built at the end of the Venetian Era and it immediately gained fame. According to a written testimony, the monastery was founded by a monk of the monastery Apezana, who once started hiking to the monastery of Agarathos. During the course, he stayed overnight in the Church of St. George in the fief of the family Lagouvardos. He saw a dream with Saint George ,asking him to build the monastery at this position. However, Lagouvardos refused but he was convinced after being punished by the Saint. Lagouvardos paid for the construction of Epanosifis monastery.

The monastery of Epanosifis has many dependencies, such as the ruined monastery of Aistratigos northwest of the monastery, the monastery of St. Anthony, of Xera Xyla near Neapolis and several chapels.

In the monastery there are now precious heirlooms, gospels, carved crosses, a silver chalice of 1842, the icon of Saint George monastery of Xera Xyla and relics of 21 Saints. The monastery also houses a Higher Ecclesiastical School, in a building that was formerly an orphanage. Lastly, the church of St George celebrates on April 23 and November 3.

Timeline

  • 1590-1600: A monk of the monastery Apezana, named Paisios, founds the monastery of Epanosifi in the fief of Langouvardos.
  • 1697: A Turkish man is found murdered outside the monastery and his family suspects the monks of the monastery.
  • 1718: Matthew Thalassinos, later Bishop of Arcadia (1763), becomes a monk at the monastery.
  • 1758: The monastery acquires the monastery of Virgin Mary in Venerato and starts its restoration.
  • 1821: The Turks kill 18 monks, while the rest ones leave to Sfakia. Manolis Tombazis takes many relics from the monasteries and transfers them to Hydra, where he sells them so as to buy weapons for the Cretan revolutions.
  • 1821: The monk Neophytos from Aydin comes to the monastery and reconstructs the buildings.
  • 1855: The abbot Gregory is elected as bishop of Arcadia and is established in the monastery till 1877.
  • 1856: A strong earthquake levels the church of St. George and the left arm of St. George is lost.
  • 1861-63: The church is restored.
  • 1866: During the 1866 revolution, the monks join the rebels and the elderly ones leave the monastery, transfering the relics of the monastery to Apezana monastery. The Turks destroy and plunder Epanosifis.
  • 1872: The monastery covers all the costs of Heraklion county schools.
  • 1896: The monks take part in the Battle of Archanes.
  • 1941-44: The monks take part in the Battle of Crete. The abbey is converted into a hospital and many families shelter in the monastery. The Germans, in retaliation, loot the monastery several times.
  • 1968: A new complex of monk cells is built
  • 1982: The statue of Eugene, the first archbishop of Crete, who was a monk of the monastery is built

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Monastery
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Phone: +30 28940 51231, +30 28940 51183

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