THE HOLY MONASTERY OF
The monastery Varlaam is one of the biggest and one of the oldest monasteries in Meteora. It was built on the top of a very big rock, close enough to the Great Meteoro.
It is a monastery for the monks and still active as a cristian community.
According to the tradition, the first founder of the monastery was a hermit named Varlaam who ascended the rock in 1350 ( the monastery named after him…).
He built a small church, few cells and a water tank. After he died, the rock remained abandoned for about 200 years.
In 1517/1518 the two founders of the church, Theophanes and Nektarios (Apsarades ) reached the rock. They were two rich brothers from Ioannina.
They found the rock of Varlaam abandoned, so they started to construct the first buildings from the beginning.
They renovated the little church of the 14th century and they erected the tower. They also built (in 1541/1542) the central church of the monastery (the katholikon) dedicated to All the Saints.
The impressive paintings of the church are considered as some of the best of Meteora .
The central part of the church was painted in 1548 by a great agiographer ( artist) from the town of Thebes, Frangos Katelanos.
The iconostasi in the main church is wooden and gilded with The paintings of narthex were created in 1566 by the two brothers, George and Frango Kontaris, according to the inscriptions.
According to another inscription all the paintings of the church were renovated in 1780- 1782 at the expense of the bishop of the city of Stagon , Parthenios, who was the same who paid for the construction of the entrance (exonarthex) , which was existing till 1857.
The visitor will come to see a totally renovated area , as soon as he walks up the steps, that lead to the entrance of the monastery. The view that he can enjoy from the balcony is definitely a reason for visiting the particular monastery, without being the only reason to come for a visit to the monastery of Varlaam!!!
The museum of the monastery is located in a new building that follows with respect the traditional architecture of all the buildings of the interior. There is a rich collection of pieces of art, such as icons, manuscripts, liturgical vestments and utensils, crosses and many more…..The visitor feels that he comes closer to the everyday life of the monks in a very simple and natural way!
Inside the monastery, besides the central church , the visitors can see more buildings, the old hospital, the tower of access and a very big barrel.