Located on top of a cliff, at a vantage point, at the mouth of Pervolakia Gorge, Kapsa monastery -dedicated to St John the Holy Forerunner- offers an atmosphere of peace with splendid vistas to the South Cretan Sea.
It’s foundation date remains rather obscure. There are indications that the multitude of caves at the region, combined with the yearlong warm climate (especially on this south eastern corner) have been ideal as a place of seclusion and “askesis”. The example of St Anthony and all the rest desert fathers is thought to have reached Crete pretty early and hermits have reached the island from the early Byzantine era and on.
It was only due to Pirate invasions that this monastic wave was disrupted (as well as many official monasteries were partially ravaged or abandoned for the same reason). The monastery was revived by a Cretan monk named Gerondogiannis in mid 19th c. His life and the many miracles attributed to him, have first gathered around him the locals but also attracted people from far away places later on
The Monastery and its surroundings
In the heart of Kapsa monastery lies the cavernous church of St. John surrounded by a later built twin-naved church. Icons of the Cretan school ( Holy Mother and Child beginning of the 15th c, and St. John the Forerunner of the 16th c) as well as the grave of St Josef Gerondogiannis are also found there.
Another small chapel dedicated to Gerondogiannis (officially included in the list of Orthodox saints on 2004) can be found inside a cave of the steep gorge where he thought to have stayed. he cave is easily accesible from the monastery.
Worth mentioning is also the amazing pebble floor of the Monastery’s yard. Created with colored pebbles from the beaches of the nearby area bears many traditional decorative motives and religious symbols
The monastery remains open for visitors (except the noon hours of rest). Totally worth visiting especially in the month of August, when the Monastery is celebrating the big feasts/panygyria of the summer (the Dormition of Theotokos and most importantly the feast its patron, the Beheadung of the Holy Forerunner on August 29th)
How to Get There:
You can follow the road all the way from Ieraperta and Makry gialos. A scenic ride with many beautiful beaches along the way.
Following are the google map coordinates for Kapsa Monastery:
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You may also see our work, featuring the St John the baptist available on the website