Monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou (Monastery of Holy Cross in Vosakos)

The monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou (the Holy Cross in Vosakos) in Rethymno prefecture is located near Doxaros and 50 kilometers east of the town of Rethymno.

The name “Vosakos” comes from the abbreviation of two words “voos” (cattle) and “sakos” (bag, sack), together meaning “mantra or paddock for cattle”, probably, because the plateau was used for livestock breeding.
To monastery played an important role in revolutionary activity during the Turkish occupation and it was destroyed twice by the Turks. During the Revolution of 1821 it was burned and the buildings, the church, the library and the archives were destroyed, while most of the monks were massacred. The participation of the monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou in the revolution of 1866-1869 was of fighting and philanthropic character, led by the dynamic Abbot Melchisedek Bardiampasis, who faced the Turks and gave refuge to many women and children.

The monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou was deserted and destroyed in 1955, but as of 1998, its reconstruction has begun.

Passing between the peaks of Koutroulis and Mesokofinas of a stunning mountain range of Talaia and at short distance from the cave Mougkri, the monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou is a fortress-like complex of buildings, constructed using the traditional monastic architecture. The main entrance is on the eastern side, while the northern is adjusted to the mountainside. The church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) is a small single-nave church dating back to the 19th century. The first Katholikon (main church) was probably built in 1195. The second date, however, that mentions the 1635 is closer to a real one, compared with the inscriptions in the monastery.

In 1669, a few days before the final conquest of Chandakas by the Turks, three monks of Bosakos asked Pasha Kioproulis to issue an order, “Holy Order”, for their protection. This request was accepted in accordance with the construction of the monastery tower with the carved cross dating to 1669. In the early years of the Turkish occupation, in 1673, the elaborate Venetian fountain was built west of Katholikon.

For the feast of the monastery of Timiou Stavrou Vosakou many pilgrims walk there, following a difficult 2-3 hours’ path starting from the Kalo Chorafi, near Panagia Charakiani (the Charakiani Virgin Mary).

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