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Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) in Kolymvari

In the west of Crete, where the destructive “Battle of Crete” raged in 1941, there is the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC).
In 1968 Irinäus Galanákis, then Metropolitan of Kissamos and Selinon, and his student Dr. Alexandros Papaderós founded the OAC. Its aim is to promote dialogue between people of different faiths and religions as well as between science, culture and faith. The OAC is under the spiritual patronage of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The OAC began its work during the dictatorship of the Greek military junta courageously. It was built on the site of the neighboring monastery of the Panagía Odigítria, which – like all of Western Crete – had to suffer severely under the German occupation.
Remembrance, encounter and education are still important services offered by the OAC to promote peaceful coexistence. It is currently one of the most important conference centers in Greece. Its activities include an Institute of Theology and Ecology.

Activities for volunteers:

Library (Cataloguing of books in German and English)
Reception service, taking care of visitors
Assistance at conferences and art projects (in winter with Greek school classes)
Housekeeping activities / hotel and kitchen
Support of the neighboring monastery of Gonia at events
Possibly visiting services in a retirement home of the Orthodox Church of Kastelli
(Annousákeio), where 70-80 elderly people live (


It is a denominational (Christian-Orthodox) project. Volunteers should be interested, open and respectful towards their partners. The activities are varied. Volunteers are needed who are active (even in the household or in the kitchen) and who are interested in educational work, theological questions, interfaith and inter religious dialogue.
The OAC is a relatively large institution, hierarchically organized and depending on the workload it can also be confusing for volunteers in the OAC. We are looking for independent people who are reliable.

Report by the first ASF volunteer Malena who is working in Kolymvari (1.09.21-31.08.22)

“During the first month I mostly worked on the reception, helped in the kitchen and took care of the Social Media accounts. Many international groups came in September and October, so I had the opportunity to join some excursions around the island ( for example boat and snorkel tours or exploring hidden beaches) and to meet different kind of people.

Now in winter most of my work takes place in my office where I sort documents and billets but I also have some things to do in the in-house library. Two times a week I participate in Greek lessons in Chania together with Carleen ( who is also an ASF volunteer) and other students.

I really enjoy living right by the sea and to have the possibility to explore the Crete nature. Sometimes I am a bit bored because I didn’t really get to know some Young Greek people yet but I am sure that will change in summer and I am looking forward to the next months of my voluntary service.”

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