THE HOLY MONASTERY OF
ST NICOLAS ANAPAFSAS
The first monastery that someone can see on the way to Meteora, leaving behind the little village of Kastraki and the church of Panagia Doupiani, is the monastery of St Nicolas Anapafsas. The rock, on the top of which the monastery is built, has a very limited surface. This fact affected the construction of the buildings of the monastery that could not extend. Therefore the only solution was to erect buildings in height. The monastery has three floors and the visitor can reach it by walking an uphill road and then several steps till the entrance.
Just after the entrance, there is a little church dedicated to St Antonio and in that area there was a crypt that in older times the manuscripts and other valuable objects of the monastery were kept. On the first floor the visitors can see the church of St Nicolas, which is the central church ( Katholikon) of the monastery. On the second floor there is the old Refectory that today it is used as the formal reception hall, there is also a chapel of St John the Baptist and the ossuary, where many relics of the monks are kept. Part of the monastery, like in most of them, it is the tower of the access, with the traditional system, the “net” , for the transportation of the monks and the goods. In the past there was additionally a ladder with 62 steps for the access, part of the ladder we can still see….. Finally on the highest point of the rock, where the bell tower is, someone can enjoy the view of the whole area!!
About the date of the construction of the monastery there is not enough evidence or written sources. It is believed that the first hermits reached the rock during the early part of the 14th century. The monastery was totally renovated in 1510 and the present Katholiko, the church of St Nicolas was built from the beginning at the expense of the Bishop of Larissa St. Dionysius and another priest-monk, called Nikanoras. Since the beginning of 1900 the monastery was abandoned. Around 1960 the monastery of St Nicolas was restored and renovated by the Archeological Service of the region. For many years it was without monks and open by the priests of Kalambaka only in the summer for the visitors. It started to operate as a monastery again in 1997.
About the name ANAPAFSAS , there is a variety of theories about the origin of the name…..but we cannot be sure…..
It can be so interesting to talk about them with you ….on a GUIDED TOUR OF THE MONASTERY!!!!
THE CHURCH OF ST NICOLAS
THE CHURCH OF ST NICOLAS extends almost to all the second floor. It is a small church, with an irregular shape, because of the shape of the rock. The main part is covered with a dome , without any windows and at the entrance there is a spacious room, bigger than the main church, called narthex. The interior of the church was painted in 1527 by the famous painter from Crete, Theophanis Strelitzas, who probably was a monk those days. All the paintings are frescoes and are considered some of the best in the monasteries of Meteora. The bright colors, the high quality of the art and the perfection of the design will impress even the most demanding visitor….either he is familiar to this art or not, either he is a cristian or not…
Theophanis Strelitzas was born in about 1500 AD in the island of Crete, where he was taught the art of agiography. Even though he was married and father of two children, he decided to be a monk at a later stage of his life . His sons followed his tradition in the art of the church and they continued his work….
Learn more about the art of iconography and the Cretan School on a guided tour with us !!!!!!!
The bell tower with snow…. Just impressive!! It is not snowing very often but when it happens, we love the view of the rocks covered with the snow!!