This monastery lies at the end of the bumpy but picturesque road that runs behind Ayia Triada.
It was built in 1548 in honor of the Virgin Mary, or more widely known, The Lady of the Angels. Locally, however, it is known after the founder of the monastery, St John the Hermit who lived and died in the nearby cave that bares his name. This is celebrated annually, in his honor, with a feast on October 7th that is open to all.
There is a stunning walk leading down to a rocky path to the beautiful ruins of Katholiko Monastery. This walk takes 30 minutes on the way down and 45 minutes on the way up. However you can continue down to a beach below the ruins which would take another 30 minutes.
The walk down
After 8 minutes walking down you will firstly come to ruined buildings and a small wooden gate with a cross above it. This gate leads to an entrance of a cave known as Bear Cave because it has a large stalagmite in the shape of a bear in the centre of it. At the cave entrance is the small 16th century chapel of Panagia Arkoudiotissa. (Arkouda means ‘bear’ in Greek). Since Minoan times this cave has been used for ceremonies relating to Artemis the Huntress and celebrations are held on February 2nd.
After another 7minutes descent you will come to Katholiko Monastery. It is carved into the rock face and is thought to have been the first monastery built on Crete in the 6th or 7th Century that was founded by St John the Hermit. The monastery was abandoned in the seventeenth century after repeated raids by pirates.