Lady of the Angels - the monastery of my heart

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

The seaside Monastery of Panagia Odigitria is located at the base of the peninsula Spatha, about 26km west of Chania and 2.5km north of Kolimbari. The monastery is also known as Lady of the Angels Monastery of Gonia (Gonia = Corner) due to its location on the western edge-corner of the bay of Chania.

The monastery was founded at this position in the 17th century and soon flourished as a rich monastic tradition was developed in Spatha and the monks soon gathered in Gonia. Gonia Monastery played an important role in local history. It has always been a shelter for the rebels of Crete and, thus, it was destroyed many times by the various conquerors. This is also witnessed by a canon ball stuck in the east wall.

The initial church of the 14th century is located in the current cemetery, near the present monastery complex. The complex is surrounded by a tall wall, resembling a Venetian castle. The temple is dedicated to the Virgin Hodhegetria (celebrated 15 August). All around there are several other buildings of the monastery (monk cells, abbey, dining room, stores, cellars, etc.). The monastery also houses the Orthodox Academy of Crete, gym, pool, schools, county court, etc. In the museum of the monastery you can see some very old icons (such these of Constantine Palaiokapas).

Great personalities served as monastery abbots. Among them was Misael Apostolidis, the Greek language teacher of the Greek King Otto and the first rector of the University of Athens. Others were Joachim Tzagarolos, Parthenios Kelaidis and Parthenios Pieridis.

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