I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Friday, January 19, 2024

Arkadi Monastery

This monastery near Rethymnon was the focus of the tour. It's not only a beautiful site, but was the site of one of the more horrific episodes of the Cretan revolt against Ottoman rule in 1866. Hundreds of women and children had taken refuge in the monastery; after a battle lasting for two days, the Turks were able to enter the monastery.

This is how Victor Hugo described what happened:

“Finally the last resistance was broken through; the masses of the Turks took the convent. There only remained one barricaded room that held the powder and, in this room, next to the altar, at the center of a group of children and mothers, a man of eighty years, a priest, the hegumen Gabriel, in prayer...the door, battered by axes, gave and fell. The old man put a candle on the altar, took a look at the children and the women and lit the powder and spared them. A terrible intervention, the explosion, rescued the defeated...and this heroic monastery, that had been defended like a fortress, ended like a volcano.”

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