The exact date of the establishment of the monastery is unknown, but according to tradition the monastery existed already in 1282, since in that year the monastery was where the leaders of Cretan rebels gathered to decide the future of the struggle against the Venetian domination. During the Turkish occupation the monastery operated a secret school, which survives to this day. The current monastic complex appears to date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. It was built on highly sloping, rocky ground in front of a huge rock, which forms a cave that houses the Catholicon of the monastery. The complex consists of four sections of buildings arranged around a narrow courtyard. Despite the interventions it has received in recent years and which have lead to some loss of its former glory in places, the fort-like building complex of the monastery is undoubtedly a significant sample of Cretan monastic architecture of the 19th century. The catholicon has a double dedication to the Virgin (Our Lady the life-giving source, and the Assumption of the Virgin). It also was the first core of the development of the monastery.
The Monastery of Faneromeni celebrates the feast of the Assumption on August 15. Many visitors flood the monastery every year, especially on the main day of celebration. The icon of the Virgin Mary of Faneromeni is miraculous, so it is well known throughout the island and particularly in the whole Prefecture of Lasithi and in the provinces of Pediada and Viannos in the Prefecture of Iraklion.
So, in August, which is the month dedicated to Mary, the monastery becomes one of the most popular destination for pilgrims in eastern Crete. The feast of Our Lady on the 15th of August in the Monastery has something unique. Every day many visitors come, while many trek up the mountain in order to fulfill a vow to the Virgin.
These pilgrims continue the tradition of many generations, going up the mountain to the monastery with reverence and humility, with spirituality and faith to pray to Our Lady Faneromeni and truly communicate with God.
- Location: Gournia