Ιερές Μονές Μετεώρων, Τρίκαλα, Θεσσαλία
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Meteora Holy Monasteries


Ιερά Μονή Μεγάλου Μετεώρου

At the tallest and biggest rock of Meteora is located the male Great Meteoro Monastery (Transfiguration of Christ), which was founded around 1340 by St. Athanasios the Meteorian (1302-1380) - a great ascetic figure who organized the first Sacred Convent of Holy Meteora. Successor of St. Athanasius was Saint Ioasaph (1350-1423), a former King, John Uresis Palaiologos.

The visitor to the monastery can enjoy: the Tower (1520), where the Balcony with the net dominates, the Cellar (the nowadays Folklore Museum with old utensils and tools), the Ossuary, the Church of the Transfiguration (1388, the sanctuary of the church - 1545, the nave and the narthex at time of priorship of Simeon of Ioannina), of Athos type with excellent frescoes of Byzantine art of 1483 in the sanctuary (Macedonian school) and of 1552 in the nave and the narthex (Cretan-style, according to the opinion of specialists, they belong to the student of Theophanes the Cretan, Georgie), the Old Altar (1557), the present Heirlooms Museum of the Monastery, Hestia (Kitchen of 1557, the current folklore museum with old bronze, terracotta and
In the monastery manuscripts of great artistic value are kept, chrysobulls, patriarchal sigils and other documents, precious historical documents, rare old books (15th-19th cent.), portable post-Byzantine icons (14th and 15th century.), old ornate wooden handicrafts, gold embroidery, silver articles, etc.

Impressive, but fairly small in its esplanade, very close to the big "Platylithos" stands the rock of the male Monastery of Varlaam, which according to tradition, was inhabited by the hermit-anchorite Varlaam in the 14th century. It was founded in 1517/18 when the brothers Saint Theophanes (+1544) and Nektarios (+1550) settled there, the Apsarades, who came from Ioannina.

The majestic, of Athos type, catholic of the monastery, dedicated to All Saints, was built in 1542. The nave was frescoed in 1548 by the Theban painter Franco Katelano and has all the features of its hagiography: the narrative detail
and the analysis of historical events and the intense realism. The narthex was decorated in 1566 by Thebans painters, the brothers George and Franco Kontaris.

The Chapel of the Three Hierarchs, a single chapel, was built in 1627 and was decorated in 1637 with frescoes, which are a characteristic painted set of post-Byzantine hagiography, the first half of the 17th century.
Other buildings are the old altar (now a museum), the House or Kitchen, one of the most elegant and finest buildings of its kind and the Hospital.
In the late 16th century and the early of 17th century, the most organized bibliographic lab in Meteora monasteries was operated, and also there was a laboratory of gold embroidery.

On a typical rock of Meteora, majestic, imposing and steep is located the male Monastery of Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the monastery was first built in 1438 by Dometios monk. From a document from the prince Simeon Uresis - Paleologos, however, it emerges that Trinity was already, in 1362, an organized monastery.

The present nave was erected around 1476 and is a small two-columned cruciform church with a central dome on the roof. The current wall painting of the church (1741), a work of painters priests Anthony and Nicholas, although newer, successfully continues the tradition of the good post-Byzantine painting.

On the dome Almighty is pictured and on the pendentives the four evangelists, of which, Lucas is depicted to narrate the image of Virgin Mary. The old wooden temple with the old and valuable for their art icons was stolen in 1979. The spacious inner narthex was built in 1689 and was decorated in 1692.

The chapel of St John the Baptist - a small circular temple with a dome, carved in a rock, full of murals - built and painted in 1862. The building complex of the monastery is completed by the Nave, the cells, the reception halls, the tanks and other facilities.
Of particular interest is the Folklore Museum of the monastery, which has a rich collection of very old textiles, utensils, tools and objects of folk art.

With panoramic views over the endless plain of Thessaly, over Kalambaka, is harmoniously located the, of easily accessible, Monastery of St. Stephen- with the multimember and active sorority, which, along with the rich spiritual and charitable work, has do an admirable constructive and restoration work on the monastery.
The beginning of monastic life in this monastery dates back to 1192 (Jeremiah's inscription). Official founders of the monastery are Saint Anthony (first half 15th century) and Philotheos (mid-16th century).

The small solemn church of St. Stephen is a single basilica and it was built in 1350. In 1545 the chapel was expanded and renovated partly by the hands of priest Nicholas. The present church of St. Haralambos (1798) is of Athos type and is adorned with beautiful woodwork. The church was bombed in 1943 and recently restored and is illuminated by the acclaimed contemporary painter Mr. Vlassis Tsotsonis. The Holy skull of Saint Charalambos is kept in its Temple, and performs many miracles nowadays.

The impressive Nave today has turned into a model modern museum with exhibits the remarkable relics of the monastery: manuscripts, Byzantine icons, vestments and embroidered textiles, wooden sculptures, elaborate silver works, etc.
The Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen's stood out for its significant contribution to the struggles of the Nation (it was the headquarters of Makedonian Struggle), to the Greek culture and to literature.

The crown on top of one thin vertical cliff, in the centre of the place, is the female monastery Rousanou, which covers the whole small plateau. It was founded in 1529, on the ruins of older facilities and the founders were the brothers Monks Ioasaph and Maximus, who came from Ioannina.

The monastery is a charming four-storey complex that took the basic building form in the third decade of the 16th century. The Catholic and the cells are located on the ground floor and on the other floors are the reception rooms, the Archontariki, other cells and auxiliary spaces. In recent years is been carried out an important and extensive
restoration work in the monastery complex by the diligent fraternity.

The Church of the Transfiguration of Christ was built in its current form around 1530 in the place of an older church of the monastery, which was ruined by the ravages of time and the neglect, and is of Athos type.
The religious murals (1560) are of the most important and brilliant mural sets of post-Byzantine era. The murals that cover the entire nave and the narthex belong to the Cretan School (according the opinion of specialists, to student of Theophanes the Cretan, Georgies). In the mid-16th century must had operated at the Monastery a bibliographic laboratory.

Although the church of the monastery is dedicated to Transfiguration, the memory of Saint Barbara is honoured and celebrated with particular pomp and reverence (4 of December), and there is a small chapel dedicated to her.

Near the village of Kastraki- and among the ruined monasteries of Baptist, of St. Monastery and of Almighty God -the elegant and stately male Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsa on the cramped rock is located. The organised solitary life in the monastery dates back to the first decades of the 14th century. The monastery was renovated in the early of 16th century, when the church of St. Nicholas was erected.

On the second floor is placed the church of the Monastery (a small single-nave church, almost square, with a small dome in the centre of the roof), which was painted in 1527 by the famous Cretan painter Theophanes Strelitzas (+1559), the
known Bathas, the founder of the Cretan School of Byzantine hagiography.

The frescoes of the church of St. Nicholas are the oldest signed work of Theophanes and bears his personal stamp with all the hallmarks of the unprecedented art of the great painter: kindness, vitality, freshness, plasticity, soft and bright tones and generally a high quality and excellence in design and colour of the forms - features which had eventually crystallized in the large murals sets of his maturity in Mount Athos monasteries of Great Lavra and Stavronikitas.

On the first floor is the crypt and the chapel of St. Anthony, on the walls of which the remains of old wall paintings are retained (14th century) and on the rooftop is the old Nave (with frescoes), which currently serves as official reception, the Ossuary and the chapel of St. John the Baptist.
Source: Prefecture of Trikala

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