The monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis is located at an altitude of 480m, next to the village Asites, 24km south of Heraklion. It is built in a lush green area with huge platan, cypress, and oak trees. Indeed, one platan and one cypress tree inside the complex have been declared as protected natural monuments by law.
The monastery, one of the oldest in Crete, has survived from several attacks during the Turkish occupation, as it housed the rebels of the area. Some of them were the chieftains Michael Korakas and Fragias Mastrahas, two very famous heroes throughout Crete. Inside the monastery, you will see the statue and the tomb of Mastrahas, who was killed in 1868 while fighting against the Turks in Asites.
The monastery reserves the authenticity of the past, as the monks do not use electrical equipment during the liturgy. The temple is dedicated to Saint George and is equipped with an artful iconostasis. Despite the fact that the temple is very old, the surrounding monks’ cells are quite new. You will get impressed with the old Venetian fountain, which till 1990 was equipped with an imposing marble lion, which was then stolen.
- 13th century: Monk Sylvestros founds the monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis.
- 1627: The current temple construction is complete.
- 1822: A battle takes place in the area, with 5000 Cretans and 22000 Turks. The monastery suffers great damages.
- 1830: Abbot Methodios restores the monastery.
- 1866: Chieftain Michael Korakas participates in a meeting of rebels in the monastery. The Turks attack them, but withouy success.
- 1867: The rebels lose a battle and abandon Saint George.
- 1868: Chieftain Fragias Mastrahas is killed during a battle in Asites. He is buried inside the monastery, where you can still see its tomb.
- 1990: The marble lion is stolen from the Venetian fountain.