Guided by a rich religious tradition, in the monasteries and churches of Lassithi, in places where the sky joins the earth and the sea, the mind finds peace and serenity. Gournia, on a cliff overlooking the sea, is one of the largest pilgrimages of Crete and is home to the Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni. The church of the monastery is built inside a cave, and the water springing from the rocks is considered holy water. Many are the believers who flock to the monastery on the 15th of August, to worship the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, the church’s feast day. A secret school is located within the monastery and used to operate during the Turkish occupation, teaching the Greek language and religious doctrine.
Inside the canyon of Agioi Pantes, next to the caves where hermits once lived, is yet another monastery dedicated to Panagia Faneromeni. The icon of the Virgin Mary was found in a cave named “Askitis” (which means hermit in Greek) next to the church. Many visitors flock to the monastery during its feast day on August 15th.
The church of Agios Nikolaos is a typical example of Byzantine architecture, with rare murals, that was built in the Iconoclastic period and which gave its name to the homonymous city. The most famous Byzantine monument in Crete, however, is the three-aisled church of Panagia Keras with frescoes dating from the 14th century and icons which are considered miraculous.
A good day to visit the church of Panagia Vigliotissa,