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Feature Article

The Monastery at Arkadi


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One of the most famous national shrines on the island of Crete is the Monastery of Arkadi. In 1866 the Cretans rose up against their Turkish overlords in a moving and patriotic battle at this site. In a last stand at the monastery, 500 Greeks (including villagers who had sought sanctuary in the monastery) were surrounded by several thousand Turks. The Cretans had taken a solemn vow never to surrender and as soon as the Turks broke through their defenses, the Abbot of the monastery set fire to the ammunition supplies and blew up almost all of the Cretan defenders along with 2500 enemy troops.

This heroic act caused the U.S. and much of Europe to rally behind the Cretans in their fight for Independence.

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