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Kardiotissa Monastery - Crete

Kera Kardiotissa

Kardiotissa Monastery

The women´s orthodox monastery of Kera Kardiotissa is located in the north eastern part of Crete´s inland, at the road going to the Lassithi Plateau. Inside the monastery, the mysterious icon of Virgin Mary Kardiotissa can be seen.

The exact date of the foundation of the Kardiotissa Monastery (Kera Kardiotissa) is not known, but it is estimated that it was around the 10th century. In the chapel of the church we can adore beautiful frescoes from the 14th century and the icon of Virgin Mary Kardiotissa. The word Kera means translated “Mother of God” while the name Kardiotissa hints to “heart” or “hearty”.

There is a legend about the icon which says that it has mysterious power because it was stolen several times during its long history, but always returned somehow back to the church. For the last time it returned even with a piece of a column which it was fastened to. The fragment of the column can be seen on the courtyard of the monastery. In 1498, it was taken to Rome by an Italian wine trader where it remained until today and is enshrined in the St. Alphonsus Church. So, the icon which can be seen in the church today is a copy from 1735, but is also believed to have mysterious and healing power.

For this reason, there are many small pleading gifts of various shapes as hands, legs, hearts, small babies, etc. hanging and lying around the icon depending on what does the person pray for to be healed.

The monastery is put into a beautiful landscape surrounded by cypress trees. Today, just a few nuns are living here and taking care of this nice place as well as of the tourists who can even visit a small souvenir shop or a workshop in the area of the monastery.

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