The Holy Monastery of Toplou, outside Sitia, has announced that pilgrims will not be allowed for the feast of Saint Isadore at remote Agios Isidoros at Cape Sidero. The announcement comes as Greek officials continue strict measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Public health officials have banned such religious events such as the feast in remembrance of St. Isadore, which was to be held February 3rd and 4th at the Naval Base at Cape Sidero, on Crete’s most northeastern tip. Access to this part of Crete is restricted to the time of this time honored festival since the area is a Hellenic Naval base.
Toplou Monastery is located 10km east of Sitia and 6km north of Palekastro. The monastery is one of the most historic monasteries of Crete and is known for its vast real property. For those who have never visited, this part of Crete is a vast landscape of remarkable natural beauty.
To the locals, the monastery is known as “the Great Monastery”, a veritable fort that is encompassed in an area of 800 square meters, over three floors, with 40 rooms, and crowned by a 33m high bell tower.
The historic monastery houses several ancient and holy icons including the Jesus Lord of John Kornaros (1770), the Unwithering Rose (1771), Santa Anastasia and Virgin Mary (found in a nearby cave where holy water flows), as well as several well-preserved frescoes dating back in the 14th century.