Reconstruction of the monastery property Finikias above the Souda Bay – Sellia/Plakias
Anyone who has ever walked above Souda Bay will certainly have come across the ruins of the former village of Finikias and, above all, the walls of the former monastery, which fell into disrepair until 2016.
History of the monastery
This monastery estate was an offshoot of the monastery “Prophet Elias” in Roustika. The complex of buildings, consisting of the Archangel Michael chapel, the priory, the monks’ cells, the shepherds’ rooms, the bank, the kitchen, the storerooms and an oil factory, date back to the 18th century (foundation around 1750). In addition, there were special areas for the animals of the monastery, probably outside of it. In addition, there were huge areas of olive trees, hence the olive processing factory and its special importance in the local olive oil production. The complex was inhabited until 1890 or 1900 (there are different statements). It seems that during the time of Eleftherios Venizelos as Minister of Justice of the then Cretan State (1899-1901) by law the buildings were handed over to the propertyless Sellias. The undeveloped areas of the complex were left to the parish of Sellia. Since then, the monastery property had fallen into severe decay.
The reconstruction project, which was authorized by the tax office for antiquity, has existed since 2009. It was supported by the parish of Sellia. The necessary funds have been secured by donations from parishioners and friends of the parish. In addition, one participated in the crowdfunding program of the national bank ‘act4greece’.
Reconstruction has been in progress since 2009, with a pause for a few years until 2016. Since around April 2017, work has been underway on further reconstruction, so to speak ‘under high pressure’. Anyone who still knows the old condition and visits the monastery today will be very surprised at what has changed in the meantime. The reconstruction was successfully completed in 2022. Today (2023) it can be seen as a new Greek-Orthodox pilgrimage site, which contains ecclesiastical exhibits, as well as an ethnological exhibition on earlier agricultural implements (e.g. old oil press, grain millstone, agricultural tools, etc.) and earlier ways of life. It can rightly be called the Church and Popular Museum of Sellia.
In the meantime, the monastery of Finikias can be easily reached by car, since the access roads are now all paved. Whereby the most convenient access is from the road to Sellia – Rodakino coming from above. However, the charm of unpaved paths for hikers has suffered greatly due to the asphalting …
All Pictures (©) Andreas Engelhardt
- “Αναστυλώθηκε το μοναστηριακό μετόχι στον Φοινικιά στα Σελλιά Άγιου Βασιλείου”
Rethimnos News 15 Νoember 2017 ” from Manousos Klados
- Kostas I. Andredakis; Οι Σελλιανοί, Των Σελλιών του Δήμου Φοίνικα Ρεθύνης; Ρέθυμνο 2003
- At Facebook:
Ιερα Μονη Αρχ.Μιχαηλ Σελλιων Ρεθυμνης-Φοινικιάς·08. Juni 2017
- Αποκατάσταση Μοναστηριακού Συγκροτήματος Ιεράς Μονής Μιχαήλ Αρχαγγέλου στο Φοινικιά – Δ.Δ.Φοίνικα- Νότιο Ρέθυμνο