The travelers with PETASSOS will follow the steps of the turbulent life and action of the monk Iosif Filagris. They will ‘live’ the conflict between the orthodox and the catholic church during the 14th century by visiting the villages, the monasteries, the chapels and the caves of the imposing Asterousia Mountains, where Filagris and many other hermits of that era, lived and acted.
Those were stifling times. Soon after the suppression of the revolution at St. Titus, the Venetian authorities started to oppress orthodox priests and their flocks or congregations. At that time, a man of the cloth decides to move away from the capital of Handakas and takes shelter on the mountains of Crete. He turned south, towards the high ground of the Asterousia mountain range. There he discovered an existing community of hermits, who had taken cover in the rocky slopes and the caves of this remote region. They lived in isolation from the world but in touch with god. The mountain provided access to the Libyan Sea, which allowed the monks to be in contact with the Christian world of the East Mediterranean area, in particular with the magnificent monastery of St. Catherine at Sinai. At one time, Iosif Filagris decided to start a monastic community. Under the awe-inspiring rock of Kofinas, he founded a monastery dedicated to the Three Holy Hierarchs. While he was “hegumenos”, the head of the monastery, a school was developed with the aim of cultivating the spiritual needs of the monks. At that school and in accordance with the standards set by the universities of the times, many manuscripts were produced. These codices provide a rich commentary on the philosophical work of Aristotle. This trip in Asterousia does not include only the places associated with the life and action of Filagris, but also inaccessible mountain spots that highlight the lives of the monks during that era.
The programme starts with a visit in the mountainous village of Kapetaniana and the recently excavated archeological/historical site of Lousoudi (the first monastic Aristotle school on the mountains). Then follows a 4x4 descent to the coastal village of Ai Giannis, were is the starting point of a short and easy trek to the coastal path leading to the impressive holy cave of Agios Antonios. We will enjoy a picnic in nature, and we will take the path back to the village of Agios Ioannis. At the end, we will visit the medieval church of Ai Giannis and then we will return to Kapetaniana.