Monasteries in Crete: Guardians of Orthodoxy

The Monasteries in Crete occupy a very great architectural and cultural importance. The great majority of them constituted refuges during the period of the Turkish occupation, thus becoming the guardians of the Ortho (upright, upright) Doxie: what is right and just.

Today, the monasteries are decorated with exceptional frescoes, where the Cretan Byzantine influence takes precedence, thanks to painters such asMichail Damaskinos,Ioannis O Xenos (the stranger)WhereDomenikos Theotokopoulos(El Greco).

 

During the years of the "Venetocracy", the island became one of the most important artistic centers of the colonies of Venice. The Cretan School of painting was very famous. The works now adorn the churches of the island, museums, private or public collections. This is a great chapter in the history of world art.

Arkadi Monastery: our favorite

Arkadi Monasteryis a must visit during your stay in Crete. It is located on the northwest flank of Psiloritis, at an altitude of about 500 m. It would have been founded by the emperor of Byzantium Heraclius, then rebuilt in the 5th century AD by the emperor Arcadius. Other researchers believe that its name is due to a monk called Arkadios. According to an inscription drawn at the base of the campanile, the church with two naves was built in 1587.

 

This monastery has a highly symbolic value for the Cretans. 300 armed rebels accompanied by 600 women and children took refuge in this very important center of resistance during the Turkish occupation, besieged by15,000 soldiers of the Ottoman army.  The resistance fighters in a gesture of insubordination, and under the orders of Brother Marinakis, blew up the powder keg from which only 4 or 5 rebels managed to escape.

 

A special atmosphere emerges from this monastery... An inner peace invades you, whether you are believers or not. Cretan freedom. This event counted a lot in favor of the annexation of Crete to GREECE.

 

From the small village of Amnatos, the road offers an incomparable view of the Arkadi valley.

Illustrator: Blanca Muro

Every year on November 8 we celebrate the Cretan Resistance...

whose most powerful emblem is the Monastery of ARKADI.