Monastery of Vrontisi

Monastery of Vrontisi

The male monastery of Vrontisi is in the southern foot of Psiloreitis, between the villages of Zaros and Vorizia, 550 meters above the sea level. Administratively the monastery is under the Festos municipality and its geographical location has an unlimited view in Mesara and Asterousia Mountains. The monastery can be visited following the road through Zaros.

The church with the 2 aisles is dedicated to Agios Antonios and the Anapsilafisis of Thomas the Apostle.

A marble fountain of the 15th century, with an embossed representation of Adam and Eve in Paradise and four shapes that represent the rivers of Edem, are in the external entrance of the monastery.

The monastery was built in a fortress style, but the wall that included it has been demolished. The temple had frescos, but very few are preserved. Those frescos were from the 14th century, while the frescos of the 16th century, made by the Cretan painter, Michail Damaskinos, are preserved in the monastery. Michail Damaskinos is said to have lived in Vrontisi. The bell tower of the monastery has an Italian style and is one of the oldest bell houses in Crete. It is not in the temple and is roofed by bows.

There are no facts about the exact year of the monastery foundation but it known that it existed before 1204, i.e. before the Venetian Occupation. The monastery was found as a monastery dependency of the Balsamoneri monastery and it is a part of it today.

During the Turkish occupation, the monastery played an important role in the liberation. After the Turkish occupation of Crete, in 1645, the Arkadi monastery was desolated and its monks went to Brontisi to find shelter. It was a revolutionary center in the Cretan revolutions of the 19th century due to its location. The headquarters of Korakas was placed n Vrontisi and then the revolution of the Central and the Eastern Crete were declared. Later, monks were massacred, 300 olive groves were burnt and the monastery was desolated. Sadia Aga of Zaros made the monastery his sheepfold.

The name of the monastery possibly comes from its founder.