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Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Sotiros or Megalo Meteoros

On top of a towering and imposing rock that gives you the feeling that it is there to control all of the Meteors, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Sotiros or Megalo Meteoro is built. The monastery extends over a plateau of 50 acres, thanks to which it owes its name and is the main destination for visitors since it is the largest, oldest and most important of the surviving monasteries and in which you can see a multitude of priceless historical relics.

The monastery was founded by the holy Athanasios the Meteorite in the middle of the 14th century AD who organized the first community of Meteora and built a temple dedicated to Theomitor. He then built cells for monks who began to flock to the rock as well as the church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, a church that also gave the name to the monastery's catholicon. The successor of Saint Athanasios, the hieromonk Ioasaf, who was of royal origin and was the son of the Serbo-Greek king Simeon Uresis Palaiologos, is considered an important founder of the monastery. In the 40 or so years he worked at the monastery, Joasaph completely renovated the temple of the Transfiguration, built cells, a hospital and a cistern for collecting water. He was also one of the pioneers of the establishment of the monastery of Ypsileota on a hard-to-reach rock opposite the Megalo Meteoro. The royal descent of Joasaph brought imperial grants to the monastery, making it stand out from the others, leading it to great prosperity during the 16th century AD, in the middle of which the current church, the narthex of the catholicon, the bank as well as various other buildings. During that century, the monastery reached its maximum number of monks, close to 300, which, however, followed a downward trend, with the result that today there are very few in the monastery.

The iconography of the monastery began at the end of the 15th century AD by iconographers of the Macedonian school based on the techniques and standards that testify to us. End in the middle of the 16th century. AD and after the majestic main church was built, icon painters of the great Cretan school took over and decorated the catholicon and the narthex with works of amazing brilliance and a variety of colors. The flourishing period of the monastery left as a legacy works of great historical and religious value, such as the 2 wood-carved pilgrims on the church iconostasis, portable icons hundreds of years old, manuscripts, silver and goldsmithing items and gold-embroidered textiles.

Access to the monastery is via steps carved into the rock and numbering around 300. During the ascent you pass through a tunnel also carved into the rock, works which allow us to understand the various skills developed by the monks over the centuries .

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