October 20, 2015

1977 GREECE (Crete) - Arkadi Monastery

The Arkadi Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery built like a fortress, situated on a fertile plateau 23km to the southeast of Rethymno. The exact date of its founding is not precisely known, but according to tradition, the foundation is attributed to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius or to the emperor Arcadius in the 5th century. The current church dates back to the 16th century and is marked by the influence of the Renaissance, visible in the architecture, which mixes both Roman and Baroque elements.

As early as the 16th century, the monastery was a place for science and art and had a school and a rich library. It played also an active role in the Cretan resistance of Ottoman rule during the Cretan revolt in 1866. 943 Greeks, mostly women and children, sought refuge in the monastery. After three days of battle and under orders from the hegumen (abbot) of the monastery, the Cretans blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender.

In the smaller part of the front of the church, the primary element is four pairs of Corinthian columns. Between each pair of columns, there is an archway. The two arches at the ends of the facade support a door and a circular opening, decorated by palm leaves on the circumference. Above the columns, there is a series of molding and elliptical openings, which are also decorated in palm leaves.

In 1645, the church was damaged by looters who destroyed the altar. Long before the capture of the monastery by the Turks in 1866, the church was torched and the icons entirely destroyed. The current iconostase, in cypress, was erected in 1902. From 1924 to 1927, at the initiative of the archbishop Timotheos Veneris, the work of strengthening and restoration of the apses and the clock were begun.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting P. Palaeologos and D. Psathas, is part of the series Centenary Journalists Union, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the series Diving Tourism, issued on July 20, 2015. The third stamp is part of the series Thermal Springs of Greece, issued on February 26, 2015.

Arkadi Monastery - Wikipedia

Sender: Milda Kriukaite (direct swap)
Sent from Rethymno (Crete / Greece), on 06.10.2015

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