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Photographer's Note

Starting from top to bottom, panoramic view of Meteora's:

1) Great Meteoron Monastery:
Is the biggest and oldest one of all. It was called the monastery which remains “suspended in the air” (meteoro), because of the cliff formation of a gigantic rock on top of which it was built. The Great Meteoro Monastery or “Megalo Meteoron” was founded in the 14th century by Saint Athanasios the Meteorite.

Athanasios is celebrated as the first founder of the monastery and the organizer of the systematic monasticism for the whole region of Meteora. For this reason, the foundation of this monastery is considered to be a turning point, or even better, the beginning of organized monasticism for the region of Meteora.

Athanasios was born around 1302 in the medieval town of New Patras, today’s Hypati, and his lay name was Andronikos. After he became a monk he lived for a few years in Athos before finally settling on the cliffs of Meteora.

The monastery celebrates as its second founder a Greek-Serbian Prince named John Uresis Paleologos. At the age of 22, he denounced all his royal titles and followed Athanassios to became a monk receiving the name Joasaph! Joasaph was responsible for building a church during the second half of the 14th century in the newly founded monastery. A small part of its wall which is embedded with the later 16th-century church is still visible to the visitors.

The main church of the monastery was made in the mid 16th century. It is dedicated to the transfiguration of our Lord and Savior decorated with beautiful 16th-century frescoes. Take time to gaze at the artistic details of some of the best samples of post-Byzantine art of Greece, found inside the church.


2) Varlaam Monastery:
Is the second biggest monastery of Meteora. Located very close to Great Meteoro Monastery, it was founded in the mid 14th century by a monk named Varlaam.

The monastery eventually was named from Varlaam who manage to climb on the cliff around 1350. A few decades later, and after Varlaam died the cliff was abandoned by the rest of the monks. The 14th-century chapel built by him and dedicated to the “Three Hierarchs” in the following years almost turned into ruins.

In the early 16th century two brothers from Ioannina, the priest-monks Theophanes and Nectarios, the so-called Apsarades decided to reactivate the abandoned monastery of Varlaam. They settled on the cliff spending many years building a new chapel dedicated to “All Saints” in 1541.


3) Agios Nikolaos Monastery:
Agios Nikolaos is the first active Monastery we encounter on our way to Meteora and was founded at the end of the 14th century.

For the name Anapafsas there are numerous interpretations two of which are the most popular. The first one is that the name Anapafsas was attributed by one of the monastery’s benefactors, while the second explanation has to do with the monastery’s position being the first on the way and probably served to the pilgrims as a resting place before continuing on. Resting translates into Greek anapafsis, so Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas literally means Saint Nicholas the one who rests you.

The limited surface of the rock forced the builders of the monastery to built it vertically on floors, one level on top of the other! Access to all the different floors is achieved through an inbuilt staircase. At the entrance of the Monastery lies the Church of St. Anthony and the crypt where the codes and the monastery’s heirlooms were previously stored. On the walls, paintings of the 14th Century can be seen.

The Catholicon, where St. Nicholas is honored, is on the second floor and it is elongated and stuck on to the south side of the wall of the monastery. The dome of the church is low and has no windows. The Holy Table rests on the third floor, decorated with murals. The Table, recently restored, is used as a reception area for the visitors. There is even the ossuary, the cells of the monks and the chapel of St. John Prodromos. Since space is restricted and there is no courtyard, the monks could only gather in the narthex, which was roomy, when there were no liturgies in the nave.

partial quote:
https://www.visitmeteora.travel/

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 91 W: 0 N: 566] (2368)
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