Advantages Fantastic stories of bravery and folklore
Disadvantages Not easy to get to without a car or going on an organised trip
Preveli Monastery, CreteThis was one of the trips we took with our daughter and her family when we took them to Crete in the summer of 2009. It was about an hour’s drive across the island from where we were staying near Rethymnon and we did enjoy some splendid scenery on the drive across including a lovely old fashioned windmill which we stopped to photograph on our way home.
The famous monastery sits on the rocky hills of Preveli canyon, on the southern side of Rethymnon prefecture in Crete. It actually consists of two monasteries, the Lower or Kato Preveli and the Upper or Pisso Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos which is about 3 km far from Kato Preveli. The one we visited was the upper one dedicated to St John the Theologian.A Brave History:
Monastery of Preveli is located at the south of Prefecture of Rethymnon with the most stunning views over the sea as it is built high on a cliff top. The oldest date found in the monastery is 1594 and it is engraved on a bell of the monastery. The monastery was probably founded during the Venetian occupation by a feudal lord known as Prevelis. In 1649 the Turks occupied Crete, and unfortunately destroyed numerous church establishments, among them the monastery of Preveli.The role of the Monastery in the World War II:
During WW II the Monastery of Preveli became a shelter for the foreign troops who were trapped in Crete and being hunted by the German Army. Two escape missions were organized and the troops were transferred safely to Egypt. After the second mission became known to the German Army and they tried to arrest the abbot Agathagelos Lagouvardos but luckily he was informed of this and he managed to escape too. When the German Army arrived at the Monastery on August 25, 1941 the soldiers caused a lot of damage to the monastery and the monks were arrested and but later released. The soldiers also removed from the Monastery buildings various goods and furnishings and from the church they took that most precious relic, the miraculous Cross of Ephraim Prevelis; fortunately it was later returned under almost miraculous circumstances. Despite this the monks continued to work secretly with the allied troops against the German occupation.The Abbot Agathangelos sadly died before he could return to Crete after working bravely with Greek troops in the Middle East. The role of the Monastery in the struggle against the Germans was widely recognized, not only by those soldiers who immediately benefited, but by the Governments of the Allied Powers.
This history is proudly seen in the museum if visiting the monastery today you can see the display about the story of The Battle of Crete which was sent the Greek community in Perth, WA in memory and gratitude of the work done by the monks in Preveli to help them at that time.
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