Kyra Eleoussa Monastery
Voritsi, Gouves

The monastery of Kyra Eleoussa (GR: Κυρά Ελεούσα) belongs to that of Agaranthou and is near the village of Voritsi, at the area of Gouves.
It is a fortress type monastery and the loopholes are still visible on the eastern side. Significant ruins, of great archaeological value, are still standing.
Taking advantage of the different heights on which it is built, the monastery spreads out on different levels with communicating staircases. The monks cells were built in the south, south-western and eastern sides.
The main entrance is triangular in shape and lies to the north-eastern side; there is a secondary, less important entrance to the north-west. A small patio at the main entrance leads off to the ancient olive-press and storerooms. A stone staircase leads to the vegetable garden.
To judge from the ruins that still stand, this monastery was autonomous and was built according to the fortification needs in Venetian times. It was built over an older monastery, which in turn was almost certainly built on the site of an even older sanctuary. Two columns, a stone one in the garden and a marble one now supporting the main gate (which incidentally is known as "Charasini" because it leads to the village of Charaso close by), are the only two vestiges of these older buildings. The church, in the centre, has two old tombs of monks or abbots. There are two other tombs, more or less visible, near the entrance where a cistern, with its whole network of pipes, collected the rain water.

A relief found here is now exhibited at the Aghia Ekaterini Museum in Heraklion. The monastery of Kyra Eleousa is mentioned in a document of 1606, near Gouves.
In 1635 it formed part of the important monastery of Saint Catherine of Sinai and was ruled by Mathaios Makelaris. We come across this name again in a document dated 1602 and Mathaios Makelaris seems to have played an important role in the foundation of the monastery. In a document of 1635, he is referred to as the abbot of the monastery.
This last document is actually the dowry agreement between the poet Marco Antonio Foscolo, author of the play "Fortunatos", and his future brother-in-law Petro Vidal; it was signed in the presence of the abbot Mathaios Makelaris of the monastery of Kyra Eleousa and in the presence of the priest of the neighbouring village of Koxare, Father Giorgos Serepetsis.
Useful Information

-Telephone: (+30) 2813 404 600 (Gouves Municipal Office)

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at 0.6km (SW)
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Gouves (Pano) Village
Gouves, Iraklion
at 2.8km (N)

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