Holy Monastery of Exakousti
The Monastery of Exakousti [‘the Renowned’] is located in the northwest part of the province of Ierapetra between the settlements of Anatoli and Malles. Compared with other monasteries in the vicinity, such as the All-Holy Virgin of Armos at Malles and the All-Holy Virgin the Karydiani [‘of the Walnuts’] at Mythoi, it is a relatively recent monastic foundation since it was founded at the end of the 19th century. Of course, the existence, already during the period of its foundation, of the small cavernous church of the Transfiguration of Christ, as well as some local traditions, offer an indication that there may have been an older monastery in the same location. The foundation of the monastery during the late 19th century has been inextricably connected with its first monk and, later abbot, Chatzi-Ananias Barberakis, who, in 1882, completed the single-nave catholicon, dedicated to the All-Holy Virgin while at the same time he built the necessary buildings for his and the other monks’ habitation. The monastery was deemed to be in dissolution in the year 1935 and was abandoned until 1963 when it became active again for a short time. Its final reconstitution took place in 1976 when, after its conversion into a female monastery, the first nuns became resident in the space. The building complex develops around a courtyard with the catholicon at its centre. Noteworthy is the very well crafted wood-carved altar screen, work of the noted artisans, P. and I. Makrakis, and X. Farsaris, from the settlement of Mesa in Lasithi.