About the Monastery
The monastery of Vidiani is located at the foot of the mountain Louloudaki, near the village of Kato Metohi in Lassithi Plateau. Access is very easy, as the peripheral road of the plateau runs just next to it.
The monastery is dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi (Life-Giving Spring) and does not remind anything of the abandoned site of the previous decades. Today the monk cells and the other buildings of the complex have been restored and the monastery operates as male monastery. Flowers are everywhere throughout the summer, while a small fountain in the yard with the huge cypress trees symbolizes the spring of Life. There is also a small café under the tree shade. The monastery hosts a small natural history museum, in collaboration with the University of Crete.
The monastery and the church are not very old as they were built in the 19th century. It is likely to have been built on the ruins of an earlier monastery. The church is stone built with very elaborate masonry, stone carved windows and an exquisitely carved temple.
The area was a dependency of the family Vidon (hence the name Vidiani), who were descendants of a Venetian family that had been given a part of the plateau as a fief.
The Holy Monastery of Mother Mary Vidiani, celebrates on the Life Giving Fountain Day and on the Meeting of Christ Day. It was reconstructed during the decade of 1856-1867 and the architecture of the monastery belongs to this period. The monastery is centuries old and was built during perilous times. At the 30 th of May 1867 the Turks burned the monastery, which was rebuilt once more during an eight-year period, thanks to the devoutness the inhabitants of Crete and especially of Lasithi felt for it. This devoutness towards the Holy Monastery is also present in the modern inhabitants of Lasithi Plateau, whose lives have been blessed with miracles bestowed by Mother Mary. In older times, sick people would go to the Monastery in order to be healed, especially the children. According to the tradition, parents brought their sick children inside the church of the Monastery and had them sat on the steps of the bishop’s throne during the Mass, believing that they would be healed.
Some people still hold the memory of parents having their children sat on the Throne’s steps, or as a matter of fact, to pack them there in order of all of them to fit. People considered it a great blessing for a child to sit there, since they knew about the healing miracles that could happen.
There is a well known story told by Mrs. Sofia Tzanaki from Kato Metochi (the village that is nearest to the Monastery) which says about a mother who brought her crippled child and put it on the Throne’s steps, while she started bowing before the icons of the church’s screen. She couldn’t believe her eyes when, at the time she was kneeling before Mother Mary’s icon, her child ran and hugged her legs.
The Life Giving Fountain Day is a holiday during which, we celebrate the healing miracles that occurred in the respective Holy Monastery at Baloukli, in Constantinople. The memory of these healings, Mother Mary- She, the Life Giving Fountain- did, is also celebrated at the Holy Monastery of Mother Mary Vidiani. The main holiday the Monastery celebrates though, is the Meeting of Christ Day, when Christ was brought as a baby to the Temple. This is related with what was mentioned above, that parents would bring their children to the church of Mother Mary Vidiani in order to be healed from their illnesses.
In the Monastery there is also a natural history museum, where birds, animals, rocks and plants are exhibited, thus providing a source of knowledge, particularly appealing to children. We hope that the museum will soon be upgraded, in order to respond to its initial purpose, which is to receive school trips. This way, the students will enjoy the beautiful natural environment that surrounds the monastery and they will be away from the noise and the concrete of the city for a while. They will also come near Nature and learn about its secrets and about our Creator.