Holy Monastery of Great Meteoro TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Great Meteoro is one of the monasteries for monks, one of the oldest and one of the biggest in the area of METEORA. Like all the six monasteries of Meteora, it is still an active Orthodox Christian monastery in the area.
The monastery was founded just before the middle of the 14th century, by Osios Athanasios on the top of the rock known as “Platis Lithos” ( which means in Greek large stone) and he was the one who changed the name to “Meteoro”. At the beginning Holy Athanasios built a little chapel of Mary the Virgin, the mother of God and he dedicated the monastery to Her. He also built cells for the monks who started to come into the area. . Later he built another church dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior Christ, which became the central church of the monastery ( the Katholikon as we call it in greek) and all the monastery took its name because of that church.
WELOME TO THE MONASTERY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF Savior Christ!!…..IF you want to see more… to learn more …. Follow me to a tour of the interior!!!!
The successor of Athanasios and second founder of the Monastery was the saintly monk Ioasaph the ex-king Ioannis Uresis (Uros) Angelos Komninos Palaeologos. He was appointed to take Athanasio’s place. He spent almost 40 years in the monastery and during that long period of time, he built more cells, a hospital, a watertank, he renovated the church of the Transfiguration but he was also one of those monks who created another monastery ( of the “ calligraphers” ) on the top of a very high rock across the one of the Great Meteoro.
In the middle of the 16th century the monastery flourished so much and prevailed among all the other monasteries because of many imperial sponsorships.
In 1544-1545 the impressive main part of the church and the narthex as well , were both added to the small church of the 14th century. A few years later the Refectory ( the dining room of the monastery) , the kitchen , the hospital, the tower for the transportation system( tower of access) , small chapels were built and the monastery was expanded very much.
THE KATHOLIKO OF THE MONASTERY AND THE PAINTINGS
The central church of the Great Meteoro monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and it was erected in three phases / periods :
- The sanctuary of the today central church was originally the first chapel of the community which was built by Holy Athanasios in the 14th century
- Later in 1387-1388 the second founder of the monastery, Ioasaf, rebuilt the small church and he extended the interior. As the central church of the monastery, that little chapel had the form of a small independent church, cruciform with a dome. All the paintings of the church were created in 1483 and they represent the entire agiografiko (iconografic) circle of an ordinary church.
- In 1544-1545 the magnificent main part and the narthex of the current church were erected and the Katholiko of the great Meteoro was ready for the community of the monks. The main part of the church follows the traditional architecture of the churches in Mount Athos ( Agio Oros in greek) , the very important religious center of the Orthodox Christians ( it is located in the northern part of Greece) .
If you are interested in learning more about the particular form of churches and the religious art , the iconography,
you should come to the monastery for a GUIDED TOUR!
INSIDE THE GREAT METEORO, YOU CAN ALSO SEE……
The first church that Holy Athanasios built( from outside) and his hermitage / the old kitchen / the Refectory/ the old hospital (1572) that today houses one of the museums of the monastery/ another museum of history and folklore tradition , three small chapels , the tower for the access and the view point/ balcony.
Coming in the monastery the visitor can go to see the old cellar with a collection of barrels and then to walk up to the church and to rest of the buildings. It is interesting to spend time for visiting the two museums, one with the religious art ( icons, crosses, manuscripts , utensils for the liturgy and vestments..) and the other with traditional costumes of different regions, pictures and historical documents )
NOTE: not all of the interior is open to the public but the majority of the historical buildings are open for the visitors. It is up to the monastery to decide for any important reason that one of the buildings should remain close for a period of time.
THE access to the monastery…….with steps!! The visitor has to walk approximately146 steps in order to enter the monastery.
Till 1920 the only access was either by ladders or by a net!!!! ( you can come to see that old system!!)
Before you leave the monastery, you should spend time on the balcony …. The view is magnificent , the rocks, the view of the village kastraki , the mountain and the river are offering good chances for unforgettable fotos!!