Asomaton Monastery

The Asomaton monastery in Rethymno prefecture is located near Amari, 37 kilometers southeast of Rethymno.

In the middle of the verdant valley of Amari, formed between Kedros and Psiloritis, the church of the Asomaton monastery is dedicated to the Archangels (Assomatoi). In the sanctuary of the church two important icons are kept, the Trinity of 1619 and the Archangels, which were painted by the abbot Manassis.

The Asomaton monastery, which is a monastic complex surrounded by a strong wall, was probably founded during the Byzantine period, as in the 13th century document, it was identical to the monastery of Michael Archangel circa 961-1204 AD.

It was the revolutionary center against the Venetians, the base on a well-known family of Hortatzis. Indeed, in the nearby church of Agia Paraskevi, west of the village, there is the tomb of Georgios Hortatzis.

The Asomaton monastery has been destroyed several times by the Turks. The worst destruction was in 1645, but the monastery was rebuilt in the 18th century. In 1812, it is said that Osman Pasha Pnigaris, the representative of the Turks on Crete, in order to put an end to the “Janissaries” (elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan’s household troops and bodyguards recruited from young Christian boys), received the Holy Communion in the monastery. According to the legend, Osman was the Secretary of the Patriarch with the name Vasileios.

The Asomaton monastery is nowadays known as Asomaton School, as since 1930 it has been operating as an Agricultural School. Apart from the necessary restoration works being carried out, a research department of the National Agricultural Research Foundation is also housed in the monastery, engaged in livestock activities and, especially, in the improvement of the local breed of sheep.

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