Chania The Cave of Saint John the Hermit

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Location: Spilia

The Cave of Saint John the Hermit (or Xenos) is situated in the area of Marathokefala, near Avlaki Gorge and within a short distance from the abandoned buildings of Katholiko Monastery.

The 135-meter cave, which used to be a riverbed, is easily accessible and open to the public. Inside the cave, one will find impressive mineral formations such as stalactites and stalagmites, as well as icons and other ecclesiastical objects that worshippers have brought over the years. A carved underground water tank is also visible inside the cave, while 15 meters from the entrance, there is a small cavity where human bones (probably belonging to a hermit) have been found. At the back of the cave, there are some inscriptions on the walls, which have been hand-carved by visitors.

According to tradition, this is where Saint John died. Saint John is believed to have to Crete from Egypt in the 6th century, accompanied by 98 Holy Fathers. When his fame as a miracle worker began to spread, he retired to this cave, but one day he was accidentally fatally injured by a hunter. The stone on which the bones were discovered is said to have been his deathbed.

To honor the Saint, a chapel was constructed at the entrance of the cave. It celebrates on October 7th and every year, one day before Christmas, a nativity scene is set up inside the cave.

Other archeological findings suggest that this area has had religious importance since antiquity.

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1 Reviews
  • Lone Rasmussen 15 Sep 2023
    Hermit's cave

    Good information about ancient times... you get very peaceful, such a beautiful area