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Barlaam Holy Monastery

This is yet another imposing monastery of Meteora, the 2nd largest, which is located at a height of 370 meters and provides a unique view of Meteora to the visitor. The monastery was first inhabited by the ascetic Barlaam, hence the name, who built a small temple dedicated to the Three Hierarchs and a small cell on the top of the rock. Finding potable water was particularly difficult, so the monks built a huge barrel in which they collected rainwater and used it either for drinking or for their construction work.

After the ascetic Varlaam's sleep, the monastery remained deserted for about 200 years and that's when the hieromonks Theofanis and Nektarios, brothers from Ioannina, came up and started to create the first buildings and renovate what was left. They renovated the chapel of the 3 Hierarchs and built the central church of the monastery which honors the memory of All Saints. It is worth mentioning that although the above construction works did not last more than a month, the transportation and lifting of the materials lasted more than 20 years. The morphology of the rock played an important role in this time delay. The ascetics through wooden ladders hanging from the rock were forced to carry the materials at the risk of their own lives as in many places the ladders had gaps between them resulting in the ascetics jumping from structure to structure at a height of hundreds of meters. Subsequently, the lifting of monks and materials was simplified by the construction of handmade brizon (net), reducing by a percentage the risk and the time delay. From the beginning of the 16th century AD and throughout this century the monastery flourished and was inhabited by about 35 monks, while from the 17th century AD and until 1961 AD it was a period of real decline. It was then that a monastic brotherhood climbed the rock and began to operate the monastery again. It is worth mentioning members of this monastic brotherhood who later became prominent personalities of Greece. In this brotherhood the abbot was the former Metropolitan of Piraeus Kallinikos and members of the group were the blessed former Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the former Metropolitan of Kitros, Katerinis and Platamonas Agathonikos as well as the current abbot of the monastery the Archimandrite Father Isidoros.

The monastery here is built on one level and in which to the east we find the hospital with the small church of Aghii Anargyri, to the north the catholicon of All Saints, the hostel, the cells and the tower for the vizoni, while to the west is the old kitchen , the bank, the temple of the Three Hierarchs and the cells. The catholicon which is commemorated in memory of All Saints is of the Agioreite type, it was built in 1541-42 AD and was painted in 1548 AD as witnessed by an inscription on its southern wall. The name of the painter is not mentioned anywhere, but based on the technique it is believed to be the work of Franco Catellano. The narthex was painted in 1566 AD by the brothers Georgios and Fragos Kontaris and in which the frescoes of the future Crises as well as the founders Theophanis and Nektarios stand out. In the main church, the depictions of Platytera, the Liturgy of the Angels, the Crucified One, God Almighty, as well as scenes from the life and passions of Aristos are characteristic. We should also mention the sacristy of the monastery, in which objects of untold religious and artistic value are kept, among which is the icon of the Virgin and Child by the Cretan painter Emmanuel Tzane, a work of 1668 AD.

Access to the monastery is via a staircase carved into the rock and has approximately 200 steps. After entering the monastery, don't forget to follow the arched corridor that leads the visitor to the small stepped courtyard with the wonderful view.

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