Kallergi Monastery is dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner. It is located southeast of the village of Smario and south of the peak of Voukolia, at a distance of two kilometers from Kastelli. It was built a hundred years ago. As mentioned by Menelaos Parlamas in 1949, the place was suitable for the establishment of a monastery. At the top of Voukolia, where the church of Prophet Elias is located, remains of old cells are preserved, which betray the existence of a monastery, where the "great teacher Joseph Bryenios" lived when he came to Crete at the end of the 14th century. The monastery belonged to the holy monastery of Vidiani, of the Lassithi Plateau and was bought by Abbot Methodius Perakis in 1879. The monastery was renovated in 1912, by archimandrite Nikiforos Velivasakis and nun Evlampia Dolapsaki, according to an inscription on the Bell Tower, preserving architectural elements of earlier times.
However, according to oral tradition, there were monks in the monastery in the past, which according to I. M. Karavalakis was built on the ruins of an older monastery. After the death of its restorers, in 1938, the monastery was abandoned for about 50 years. It reopened in 1988 with the arrival of Archimandrite Ierotheos Alexakis. Today the monastery is being renovated with the help of the Association "Friends of Kallergi Monastery". The central building has been repaired. The vaulted part of the SW side has been converted into a bank. There is also a chapel, which is dedicated to the Cretan Neomartyrs (who were martyred during the Turkish occupation) and serves the night services. The newest church is built outside the precincts of the monastery and is dedicated to Ag. George and to Ag. Spyridon.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou