Monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni (Saint Anthony monastery in Veni)
The monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni in Rethymno prefecture is located on the top of the hill Veni, near the village Voliones.
In one of the most verdant locations not only of the county, but of the entire island, the monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni was built in Byzantine times in a prominent position with view at the Psiloritis and the Arkadi monastery. During the Venetian rule it was the base of the rebels Hortatzis, the family of the 13th century. On the cobbled path leading to the monastery there are fountains with fresh water surrounded by plane trees. According to the local tradition, during the Turkish occupation, the representatives of the elders gathered here and took decisions under the shade of a plane tree of the monastery. That is why, the area was called the “Pnyx of Crete” (Pnyx = a place where the popular assemblies were hosted). The Turks burned the monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni three times, trying to prevent concentrations of rebels and limit their actions.
Outside the cave of the monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni there is a precinct with monks’ cells that are maintained in excellent condition. The cave was used as of the Minoan era as a cult cave and, inside, there is the miraculous Holy Water and bones of monks of the older ages. Impressive clay basins are filled with miraculous Holy Water that comes from a continuous dripping from the roof. An ancient custom is preserved by the villagers; they offer the priest their vegetables or eggs, inside the cave, for him to sanctify them.
To reach the monastery of Agios Antonios in Veni the visitor will need to follow a dirt-road for about 3 kilometers from the village Voliones.