The construction of the Monastery of Diskouri, by full name the Monastery of Agios Georgios Diskouri, or Iera Moni Diskouriou can be dated to the period between 1600 and 1630, because is included in the list of Mylopotamos villages in 1630.
These were the last years of Venetian rule, when the Turkish threat posed a real threat to Crete. During this period, the Venetians built smaller forts everywhere, that is why the monastery has features characteristic of a fortress.

GPS is very important! – because no street names in Western Crete. GPS: 35.315700, 24.816737

In the center of the monastery is a church dedicated to St. George, where the famous icon of St. George is located.
The monks’ cells were built around the courtyard.
In the museum of the monastery, we can look into the life of the monks, after then in the cellar we can learn about the tools:
– which were used for farming
– which was used for harvesting olives and making olive oil: we can also see a press used for pressing olive oil, in very good condition
– which was used in viticulture and winemaking

The monastery is located on the slope of Psiloritis, i.e. Mount Idi, the highest mountain in Crete, next to the settlement of Axus, in Greek: Αξός: in the heart of Crete.

The origin of the name of the monastery

The monastery was built on the remains of a building from the period of Constantine the Great: 274 – 337.
According to some ideas, and inferred from the name Diskouri: it was probably sanctuary.
Greek mythology knows several legends about the birth of Zeus. According to one legend, Zeus was born in Cave Ideon Antron, which is 27 kilometers away, therefore the cult of Zeus reigned in the countryside.

The fruit of the marriage between Zeus and the Spartan queen Leda was Dioskouroi, or in some sources: Dioscuri and his twin: Castor. He was the protector of travellers, the god of guests and riding, so in the pictures: he wears a wide-brimmed travel hat as he explores the world with his horse.
According to Zeus’ decree: the twins had to spend their days alternately in heaven and in the underworld.
Dioskouroi live among the stars, like the constellation Gemini.
The fact, that the Gemini constellation is visible only six months of the year: it is indicating the change in the period spent in heaven and the underworld.

Today’s monastery has preserved the memory of the ancient Greek past in the name Diskouri: but the Christian monastery was consecrated in honor of Saint George.

Saint George

Saint George, a Christian martyr, was born around 271 Cappadocia – in Greek: Καππαδοκία; in Turkish: Cappadocia is the former Asia Minor, now Turkey.
He came from a noble family, who chose military service, when Emperor Diocletian reigned. He was a very talented soldier, thanks to his excellent skills, he quickly rose to a higher position.
But the emperor’s policy changed, and Diocletian began to persecute the Christians.

Then George resigned his office, and turned against the emperor.
The emperor’s soldiers then captured him, and imprisoned him. Despite the cruellest tortures, he stood by Christ and the Christian faith, and was therefore sentenced to death. On April 23, 303, George was executed.

Most of the pictures show Saint George as a knight, and fighting the dragon. The symbolism of this: faith in God ends the rule of demons, and faith in Jesus defeats evil in all its forms.
Saint George is one of the fourteen helpful saints.
He is also revered as the patron saint of several countries and cities.

1822 – the Turkish conquerors destroyed part of the monastery
1866 – the documents in the Heraklion Historical Museum prove, that it was the seat of Captain Michael Korakas during the Turkish period, during the revolution
1867 – the monastery helped the Cretan revolutionaries, therefore the Turks retaliated this: they burned the monastery
1890 -1897 – the remaining part of the monastery was renovated; the destroyed parts were rebuilt: it was during this period that it gained its present appearance
1900 – abolished as a monastery, but the monks still lived in the monastery
1935 – the Diskouri monastery was attached to the Halepa Monastery, what is only 6.5 km away

1950 – the renovation of the monastery began, with modern building materials, e.g. with cement. Some parts of the monastery were demolished, and rebuilt with these materials.
1950 – September – Marriage of Abbot Kallinikos Vamvoukas and Kostas Kefalogiannis or Koundokostas Tasoula Petrakogiorgis. With this the abbot prevented the legendary kidnappings, which almost covered Crete in blood.
2004 – the monastery started working again as an independent monastery under the leadership of Abbot Raphael Mainolas, who is very active, hospitable and enlightened monk

The museum of the monastery