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Profitis Ilias Monastery at Roustika

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The Profitis Elias Monastery, situated on a hill with sweeping views 20km south of Rethymno and adjacent to Roustika village, is a relatively lesser-known monastery in Crete. Founded during the Venetian Era, it is among the island’s most historic convents.

Throughout its history, the monastery was repeatedly destroyed by the Ottomans, with the last instance occurring during the 1866 revolution. The monastery played an active role in the resistance against Turkish rule. Consequently, the monastery’s buildings, aside from the temple, were constructed in their present form after 1866. Additionally, Profitis Ilias made a significant contribution to preserving Cretan history by housing the Historical Archive of Crete during the German Occupation.

The monastery features a fortress-like architectural design. At the center of the courtyard, visitors will find a three-aisled basilica with a dome dedicated to Prophet Elijah (celebrated on July 20), the Holy Trinity, and Agia Zoni (August 31). The belfry of the monastery, along with that of Arkadi Monastery, are the only surviving Venetian bell towers in Crete. Surrounding the courtyard are the two-story monks’ cells, an incomplete guest house, and the refectory.

Within the temple, visitors can admire the ancient wooden iconostasis, the throne (dated 1843), and the pulpit. Additionally, numerous relics are housed in the sanctuary, including sacred vessels, vestments, gospels, crosses, relics of various saints, a brocade epitaph, old books (dating back to 1640), and manuscripts (from 1620).

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