Old Monasteries of Viannos

Numerous small churches are to be found at various places in the area of Viannos, which are believed to have been used as small monasteries in earlier times. For instance, such a chapel existed at the location of the church of the Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias), north-east of Keratokambos, which was seemingly plundered and then destroyed by the Turks.

Another such monastery probably existed at the site of the church of Agios Dimitrios Galatoktistos, where one can see traces of monks’ cells and a fountain. It is believed that in its time of acme the monastery had so many goats and sheep that the buildings were built with mortar mixed with milk instead of water (Galatoktistos = built with milk). It is also said that this monastery was soon abandoned because it was vulnerable to raids from the sea, and the monks had to move inland. 

Among the most well-known monasteries of Viannos are the following: Agia Moni, the Dormition of theVirgin (Kimisi tis Theotokou) parish church, Saint Anthony (Agios Antonios) at Arvi, Saint Demetrius (AgiosDimitrios) at Kastri (municipal district of Hondros), Saint Procopius (Agios Prokopios) at Kalami, the Holy Obedience (Agia Hypakoe) at Sikologos, and theVirgin (PanagiaKeralimeniotissa at Faflagos. 

Monastery of Saint Demetrius at Kastri, Hondros

It is believed that a monastery existed during the Turkish occupation period at the location of the church of Saint Demetrius (Agios Dimitrios), at Kastri, in the municipal district of Hondros. It is said that the monastery was well-known in its time for sheltering persecuted Christians, while the monks themselves were famous for their fighting spirit. Unfortunately, they paid dearly for their bravery, when they were persecuted by the Turks, in the late 18th and the early 19th century. According to the story, they resorted to Moni Apezanon. However, before leaving their monastery, they hid valuable holy vessels in inaccessible spots of the area.

Judging by its frescoes, the church of Saint Demetrius is of Byzantine origin and it most likely was the main church of the monastery.

Legend has it that milk was used for its construction instead of water, indicating the numerous herds of goats and sheep that existed in the area then; thus it was named Agios Dimitrios Galatoktistos (= built with milk).

Monastery of the Holy Obediance at Sikologos

The same happened with the Monastery of the Holy Obedience (Agia Hypakoe),when the Arabs attacked. The monks hid in a nearby cave, known today as Apakougi, so that they would not be discovered. The opening of the cave, located at ground level, is very small and thus hardly discernible. Not being able to discover them, the Arabs utterly destroyed the monastery, which was never rebuilt.

It is believed that one of the monks that hid in the cave of Apakougi was the one who founded the Monastery of Panagia Keralimeniotissa.

Moni Prokopiou at Kalami

Traces of the old Prokopiou Monastery (Saint Procupius Monastery) can be seen near the village of Kalami. History has it that once in the years of Arab dominion, locals hid in the monastery to escape the Arabs; however, they were discovered and massacred, and the monastery was destroyed, never to be rebuilt. 

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Additional Info

  • location Viannos, Viannos, Heraklio
  • type Abandoned Monastery
  • time period Various
  • site condition/facilities Open-Well preserved
  • relevant routes & paths


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