Self-sacrifice for freedom in the Monastery of Arkadi

The war of liberation against the Turks and Crete’s union with Greece lasted many years and it is a great example of heroism and sacrifices!

One of the most glorious moments of the war of liberation is the Holocaust that took place in the Monastery of Arkadi on the 8th November 1866.
It is the most important moment during the Cretan Revolt of 1866, the most influential event in the fight for Cretan people’s liberation, a symbol of heroism and self-sacrifice.

It was on the 6th November, when Mustafa Pasha camped outside the Monastery of Arkadi with 15,000 men and powerful artillery, while inside the monastery there were 250 Cretan rebels and 700 civilians. The leader of the Arkadi fighters was Sublieutenant Ioannis Dimakopoulos from Peloponnese and Abbot Gabriel Marinakis. After two days of bloody conflicts, on the afternoon of November 8th, 1866 they brought a large cannon from Rethymno and demolished the western wall of the monastery. The attackers invade in the monastery and the massacre began. In the gunpowder storage room, Kostis Giaboudakis blew up the gunpowder left killing the civilians who chose death rather than continue life enslaved.
The Arkadi Holocaust, just as the Destruction of Psara and the Exodus of Mesolonghi caused feelings of admiration and emotion to the whole world and a new wave of philhellenism was created in Europe. Important people, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victor Hugo, took a stance in favour of the Cretan struggle for freedom.

The Cretan Revolt lost its steam on January 1869 and the Union of Crete with Greece was postponed for 1912.

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