sits in a large olive grove. The long stately driveway is lined with pairs of cypress trees, and on arrival you are greeted by this impressive renaissance stairway. The steps lead on up to a courtyard filled with orange trees, and entrance to the church. The monastic community is now very small but it still plays an important role in the religious and economic life of Crete.
A Byzantine Imperial yellow flag showing a double-headed eagle and crown flies at the entrance. The flag does not have any official status in Greek Orthodox Churches, but shows an allegiance to the Patriarch of Constantinople. This is not dissimilar to the way that Catholic churches around the world fly the Vatican Flag.
The monastery has lots of cats which are very happy to be stroked and photographed but pictures showing the other incumbents are not allowed.
The church is built in a typically Byzantine architectural cruciform style and has three domes. At the front there are two pairs of Doric columns and a pair of Corinthian columns on either side of the main entrance.
The interior of the church is colourful and extremely ornate.
The monastery library has many fine, rare books, and the museum houses a collection of icons, and silver.
They produce and export organic olive oil, fine wines, honey, vinegar and soap made using their olive oil - all of which are highly regarded.
Having been given samples of their wines, and homemade bread dipped in various different flavoured oils and vinegars - all agreed that it was excellent.