Arkadi monastery lays 23 km. away from Rethymno, at an elevation of 500 meters above the sea; it is one of the most historic monasteries on Crete.
The first written tribute dates to the 14th or 15th century. Arkadi is a monument of the faith and struggles of Cretans for liberty. It has been recognized as a world monument of freedom (European monument of freedom, UNESCO), and a symbol of martyrdom and resistance against the foes coveting another people’s land.
Arkadi, which is probably the most well-known monastery on Crete, impresses with its architecture and magnitude that makes it stand out of its surroundings.
The historic moment of November 1866
In 1866, the Revolutionary Cretan committee had stopped by the monastery and orchestrated the big Cretan Revolution that had the motto “Union or Death” and demanded the liberation of Crete and union with Greece. More than 600 women and children and almost 300 warriors had resorted to Arkadi.
On November 8, 1866, the monastery was attacked by the Turkish army. Abbot Gabriel was asked to abandon the monastery, but refused to go. The day next, he was killed by the Turks. The rest of the Cretans (warriors, women and children) locked themselves in the gunpowder storehouse.
After they got physically and mentally exhausted and being sure that they were captive to the Turks, they detonated the barrels of gunpowder. The explosion was so strong that destroyed the whole monastery and killed the Greeks but also some of the Turks that had invaded Arkadi.
Feasts of the monastery
On May 21, when the right aisle of the Catholicon celebrates commemorating Ss. Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles,
On August 6, when the left aisle of the Catholicon celebrates commemorating the Transfiguration of the Christ,
On November 8, feast of Ss. Archangels Michael and Gabriel, when the Holocaust of the Arkadi monastery is commemorated.
If you are in Rethymno city, enter the highway and head towards Heraklion. After six kilometers take the exit to Tsesmes-Platania. Immediately, turn right and then left heading to Heraklion. You go through the villages Tsesmes, Adele, Pigi, Loutra, Kyriana, Amnatos and then, after 16 km you reach Arkadi monastery.
Tel.: (+30)28310 83135 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org