Moni Apezanon, a Monastery built on the mountain range of Asterousia (the Holy mountains of the South) dedicated to Saint Anthony.
Involves a donkey (or a mule) that refused to move forward. According to Legend( wikipedia) the establishment of the monastery in this specific place is attributed to this denial. It was taken as a sign given by the icon of the Saint. Carried there by monks (from the monastery of St Anthony in Agiofarago) they were trying to find a place to shelter their community from pirates. So for them, at that moment, it was thought that the icon had climbed down: “Apezepse” in Greek, similar to Apezanes!
Βuilt around 15th c., Apezanes Monastery has been a regional cultural center with significant contribution to letters and art. It hosted an extensive library and a famous workshop for creating and copying manuscripts. It was also home for many important scholars and personalities that played an integral part in greek letters and heritage. Being a center of hellenism (and therefore of rebellion) at a very dark period, the monastery was destroyed by the Turks and only part of it survives now that includes a fraction of its old library and some precious liturgical objects.
The monastery is surrounded by Big trees but sadly maintain few of its original architectural elements. The three isled catholikon was rebuilt in the 19th century and is dedicated to the transifuration , the holy Hierarchs and St Anthony which – in the main picture is being seen kneeling . A drawing of Saint Anthony that was brought down to his knees by the multitude of temptation, only to use this as means to his salvation.
More in the area
According to N. Psyllakis (see sources) you can also visit the nearby chapel of Saint Paraskevi , only 2 km away from the monastery. An Oak tree dominates the environment there and is being considered to be a healing tree (said to be a survival of the worship of the Holy trees). Pilgrims go to this tree to relieve themselves from various illnesses and in its roots there is always icons of the saints and burning incense.
The monastery remains open for visitors (though it is advisable to contact first)
How to Get There:
Apezanes Monastery is a 63 km drive from Iraklion. You may reach it driving forst towards Gortina and then all the way to to platanos and plora villages/
Following are the google map coordinates: https://maps.app.goo.gl/hbxA4MiFrtgQrFxQ9
If you like to see more posts like that visit my blog. I ll be posting -monthly- about places I love in Crete
You may also see our work, featuring the Saint Anthony available on the website