Panaghia in the village of Roustica

This two-aisled church dedicated to the Holy Virgin and Christ the Saviour is situated at the place of Livadi in the village of Roustica, 21 km from Rethymno. The walls in the interior of the church are covered with frescoes dating back to 1381. The belfry shows the inscription of the year 1627.

The Monastery of Prophitis Ilias with the homonymous byzantine church of Prophet Ilias, Holy Trinity and Agia Zoni is a three-aisle basilica with cylindric dome, it has a belfry with two bells and an inscription of 1637. The monastery had become the centre of the rebels against the turks and this is why it was destroyed by them in 1821.

The architectural plan of the present-day Katholikon is adapted to the well-known type of the three-aisle basilica, which, however has a dome and only one Bema apse. The largest part of the Church is built with chiselled limestone blocks. Internally it has two colonnades, which divide it in three aisles. The floor of the bema is higher than the main church, while at the dome Chirst Pantokrator is painted, work of the artist Gallenos from Rethymno in 1905. The wood carvings of the Katholikos are of excellent quality.

The contribution of the Holy Monastery of Prophitis Ilias to the cultural education of the people of Rethymno was immense. It is said that during the Ottoman rule an unofficial school operated in the monastery, in which the young pupils of the surrounding villages received the basic education. In 1808 the Monastery was praised by the Patriarchate for its great financial contribution for the schools of the region of Rethymno.

In the time of the egyptian rule the authorities allowed the foundation of many greek schools. An important contribution to the expenditures for the financing of the schools was made by the local monasteris, including the Monastery of Prophitis Ilias, as it is also concluded from a relevant document of 1836. In 1864 the Monastery paid a considerable amount of money for the building of a girls' school in Rethymno.

Two unpublished patriarchial documents of the 26th if July 1861 and the 20th of April 1865 prove that the Monastery helped the schools of both the city of Rethymno and the rural areas.

Moreover, the Holy Monastery of Roustika helped many young men who loved learning to continue their studies and made them scholars, monks and abbots, many of whom also became brave fighters.


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