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Holy Monastery of Roussanou

Perched on top of a rock, the Roussanou Women's Holy Monastery stands tall and imposing, providing a unique goddess to visitors. The rock on which the Monastery was built has several characteristics in common with the rock of the Holy Monastery of Rest, being both vertical, narrow and steep, with the result that the Holy Monastery of Roussanou is also built on 3 levels. The monastery covers the entire surface of the top of the rock it is housed in and which seems like its natural end.

The monastery is believed to have been founded at the end of the 14th century AD, specifically in 1388 AD by the hieromonks Nikodimos and Benedictus. However, the activity of the brother monks Ioasaf and Maximos was certain, who after their establishment, following the approval they received from the Metropolitan of Larissa and the abbot of Megalo Meteoros, developed a great building activity as they did not find too many ruins on the rock plateau. In 1530 AD they built the catholicon on the site of the ruined church of the Transfiguration and completely renovated the monastery. The route of the monastery is lost over the centuries and the only thing we can say with certainty is that it was a safe haven for the inhabitants of the area against the attacks they received, especially during the Turkish occupation. In the last 2 centuries we know that it had a gradual decline until the 1940s AD. Subsequently, after intense efforts by the monks, the Monastery was restored and completely renovated under the Archaeological Service.

The Catholic Church of the monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, but the patron saint of the monastery is Saint Barbara. The Katholiko is a cruciform church with a high dome, while due to the peculiarity of the rock, the Holy Plinth faces north and not east as usual. His canonization began in 1560 AD under the abbot of the monastery, Arsenios, and according to an inscription in the temple, it was done at his own expense. There is no signature with the painter's name, but judging by the result, he must have been someone great since his hagiographies are among the most brilliant sets of post-Byzantine painting. Their technique suggests that they came from someone of the Cretan school and according to experts they are the work of Tzortzis, a student of the great iconographer Theofanis Strelitzas. In the narthex we find a complex fresco of the Second Coming and the Day of Judgment. Also admirable is the ostrich egg that is in the temple and symbolizes God's Fatherly love.

During the first time of the monastery, the ascent to this piece of rock was done with wind ladders and a net, making it difficult and quite time-consuming. Now getting there is easy with cement steps and 2 small solid bridges. Don't forget to go out on the terrace of the monastery, enjoy the magnificent meteoric landscape and feel the holiness and immensity of divine creation for a moment.

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