Holy Metropolis of Petra and Cherronesos
The Metropolis of Petra and Cherronesos with the historical capital of the county of Lasithi, Neapolis, as its seat, occupies the northwest part of the county of Lasithi and the southeast part of the county of Heraklion. It was created with the recent union of the abolished – since 1900 – Diocese of Cherronesos and the Metropolis of Petra, without the province of Viannos. The Diocese of Petra, consisting of the old provinces of Merambellou and Lasithi, appears for the first time in 980, after the repossession of Crete by the Byzantines, in a Taktikon of Basil II the Bulgar-slayer (976 – 1025), as detached from the Diocese of Ierapetra. Even though there is no relevant reference in the sources, it is likely that the seat of the diocese was the middle Byzantine church of the All-Holy Virgin of Koumbelidiki at Choumeriako. The older Diocese of Cherronesos is mentioned at least from the 5th century, when its bishop participated in the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesos in 431. The seat of the diocese was the large early Christian basilica B, in the city of the same name. After the destruction of the basilica by an earthquake during the reign of the emperor Heraclius (610 – 641), its seat was transferred to the nearby present day settlement of Piskopiano, where an early Christian basilica has also been revealed. The see was transferred to Episkopi of Pediada in the 10th century, while from the 19th century until its abolishment it had as its seat the Monastery of Agarathos.