The Monastery of Our Lady of Angels Gouvernetou is located 19 kilometers southeast of Chania, at the northern end of Cape Melecha and at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity of Tzagarolon.
The monastery is located at an altitude of 260 meters, where there was the settlement of Gernetto, above the entrance of the gorge, Avlaki Katholikon.
The worship of the Monastery is dedicated to Saint John the Hermit or the Xenos, who died in the 11th century in a cave in the Avlaki Gorge by a hunter who thought he was an animal. The monastery is thought to have been founded by monks of the Catholic Monastery, who followed the ascetic tradition of St. John. But there are also supporters of the view that the Monastery was founded by Saint John himself.
The monastery was under the control of the Holy Trinity Monastery of Tzagarolon in 1620, when the abbot of Jeremiah took over the process of building the complex. Due to Turkish domination on the island, construction work was completed 2.5 centuries later.
Gouvernetou Monastery is one of the oldest active monasteries in Crete despite the great disasters it suffered from the Turks. Its architecture is fortress-like, with four towers built on the corners of the rectangular enclosure and the towering over the central gate. Hot oils were poured into the abyss in any intruder attempting to break the monastery’s entrance. The monastery’s cathedral was built on the site of a small space and was completed in 1894 with the addition of a chapel narthex. It has a cruciform shape and a dome, while the entrance is decorated with reliefs and masks. In the courtyard of the monastery, there are various buildings and the cells of the monks. Next to the church, there are the chapels of Saints Ten and Saint John the Hermit. On the south side there are warehouses and on the floor the large bank and the cookery.
The monastery has a museum with icons and relics, which survived despite the many catastrophes it suffered, such as the icon of the 15th-century Holy Mary Glykofilousa with 16th-century burial mounds from Agios Prokopios. In the monastery cemetery, there was a chapel in honor of Saint Prokopis, which was demolished. In addition, you will admire pictures of the life of St. John the Hermit.
From the Monastery begins the path, which leads to the Monastery of Katholikon and ends at the sea. You can visit the Metochi of Agios Antonios, which is a short distance away, then you can see the Arkoudospilios and the cave temple of Agios Ioannis Xenos.
Finally, you will end up in a beautiful narrow fjord with crystal clear turquoise waters and a small creek where the monks rest and guard their boats.
The Monastery of the Angels of Gouverneto is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 09:00 to 11:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00.
Finally, please be well dressed during your visit to the Monastery.