St. Minas is the patron Saint of Heraklion. The day of his celebration (November 11) is a holiday for the city. Many legends surround his name, narrating stories how he protected the city in many occasions, like when the Turks attacked and even during the German bombardments in 1941. The bomb exhibited right next to the Cathedral of St. Minas, by the staircase that leads to the plateau of St. Catherine, stands witness of the Saint’s protection as it fell at this point in 1941 but never exploded.
According to another legend, a monk had a vision of the Saint who indicated to him where his temple should be built.
The famous Cretan writer Kazantzakis often refers to him in his book “Captain Michalis” (UK title “Freedom and Death”): “On midnight, when the town is in deep sleep, St-Minas descends from his icon and sets off for the quays, crossing through the neighborhoods of the Greeks; when a door he finds open, he locks it; when a christian he finds ill and sees light on his window, he stands, pleading to God to heal him”.
The Cathedral is one of the largest in Greece and was built in the mid-19th century. The construction was interrupted by the 1866 Cretan revolution and continued in 1883. The Cathedral was finally completed in 1895. To its left stands the small temple of St.Minas.