December 15, 2014

The Fort of Intzedin and the Chapel of Saint Eleutherios in Crete

The Fort of Intzedin is the only fort on Crete built by the Turks, located on the hill Kalami, 15km east of Chania and has a panoramic view of the Souda Gulf. The fortress of Intzedin was built in 1872 by Reouf Pasha, on the same location where in 1646 the Turks first built a tower, chasing away the Venetians. It was the main defense construction of the port and was named "Intzedin" to honor the first born son of the Sultan Abdul Aziz Intzedin. In later years, the building was used as a prison for political prisoners, prisoners of common criminal law and for prisoners who received the death penalty.

While doing time in this harsh prison, the convicts put their trust in God and built a small chapel, on the south side of the prison and outside the inner wall, dedicated to their liberator Saint Eleutherios (whose name means "he who liberates" and is a patron of prisoners). They painted the icons, carved the iconostasis, made the chandeliers as well as the lights and arranged the chapel’s interior.

The ceiling had frescoes on it, but during the carrying out of conservation work, they were destroyed and then covered. On the iconostasis of the church, a great eye has been designed by the well known artist and painter Manolis Raftopoulos, a prison inmate at the time.

Since the prison stopped functioning, its heavy iron gates open once a year to welcome worshippers on the Saint’s feast day of December 15th, when a Divine Liturgy is celebrated.