The paper focuses on the Life of the Cretan monk John Xenos (Vita C and Vita K), a hagiographic text which provides detailed information about Phaestos and the plain of Messarà in the second Byzantine period (961-1204) but even after the Venetian rule in Crete (1211-1669), during the Turkish occupation. The Vita K, in fact, was originally composed in the 18th century as a popular ‘metaphrasis’ of the ancient Vita C (11th century) and was copied several times during the 19th century in order to remember to Cretans their orthodox identity through the hagiographic dossier of John Xenos. The paper takes into account the written sources (both literary and diplomatic ones) about the monastery of St George Doubrikas, later called ‘in Falandra’ by Venetians. Finally, by analysing the archaeological evidence from the hill of Phaestos, thanks especially to the excavation campaigns led by Italian researchers, the paper traces the history of this site from the time of the Byzantine recapture of Crete from the Arabs until the end of the Venetian rule.
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