Ano Moulia is a picturesque, mountain village, built amphitheatrically, with a panoramic view to the Mesara plain. The village of the Gortyna municipality is 35 kilometers from Heraclion and 640 meters above the sea level.
About 500 people live in the village and their main occupations are agriculture and livestock.
Ano Moulia is an old settlement with its first reference in a 1248 record. After that it is mentioned in various records.
In the 1671 census it is stated with 60 amerces, i.e. 60 enslaved people that were obligated to pay a tax to the Ottomans.
In 1881, Ano Moulia was under the Zaros municipality and called “Moulia” with 78 Christians and 98 Muslims. It was stated by the same name until 1940 when it took its today’s name. In 1928, the settlement became a rural municipality with 295 residents. After that and till 1998 it was a local community.
According to Stefanos Xanthoudides, the name of the village came from the verb “millo” that means smash, grind in Ancient Greek.
The patron saints of the village is Agioi Apostoloi Petros and Pavlos (i.e. Peter and Paul the Apostles), an old church with frescos remnants of the 12th-13th century.
The Agios Panteleimonas, Panagia, Agios Georgios, Zoodochos Pigi, Agios Theodoros and Analipsi country churches are in the village.
The church that is dedicated to the memory of Apostolos, Dimitrios and Zacharios, the three New Martyrs from Moulia (“Treis Neomartires ek Moulion”), is in the village.
Treis Neomartires church
The church is in the north of the village, in an area of 4 acres. Its building was completed in 2009.
The Three New Martyrs, Dimitrios Manousakis, Apostolos Choiromouridakis and Zacharis Kornilakis, were the last new Martyrs in Crete that died in 1866-1878.
Then, in Ano Moulia, the residents abandoned their houses in order to find shelter in the mountains and in caves due to the Turkish violence.
The families of the three Martyrs went to the gorge above Zaros but the three family men wanted to return to their houses to take supplies.
When they reached to Moulianos Poros, a Turkish patrol, made by Turks from Aksenti that were the most barbaric of all the Turks in all the settlements, caught them and asked them to change their faith in order to save their lives. They denied and so the Turks tortured them to death.
After their death, God sent signs for their canonization. It is said that, in the place where they were buried, three lights appeared every night. It was also said that the flow of the river of that place changed in order the earth there not to be drifted and unbury their relics. After that the three saints appeared in the dream of a villager and asked their relics to be transferred to the Agioi Apostoloi church. It is also said that a web spider was created and the villagers recognized the faces of the saints on it.
Due to the constant Turkish attacks, the residents of the village digged the southern wall in the right of the altar stone and built the chest with the saints’ relics in there. The daughter of Zacharias, that was sold as a slave by the Turks from Aksenti in Konstantinople, saw the fifth sign of the saints’ canonization. She saw his father in her dream and said to her to dig in the place where the relics were in the church as they would found healing holly water. She told her story to the people of the church that were in charge and asked Iosif Chasourakis to dig there. Then they unbury the relics of the saints.
The day of the transfer of the saints’ relics was the first Sunday after the celebration of the dormition of Virgin Mary (15th of August) and from then that day became the day of their celebration.