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Protato of Meteora.(Doupiani)

The Chapel of Virgin Mary of Doupiani

Between the end of 10th century and the beginning of the 11th , within the Meteora region, a small ascetic community had been formed. Its center –religiously speaking- was the temple of Virgin Mary according to the Chronicles of Meteora, and served as the Protato; the very first Christian temple ever built in Meteora. Within this temple, which is still maintained till today, in a location close to the Monastery of St Nicholas Anapavsas, were gathering every Sunday from their ascetic cells and hermitages the strict and solitary hermits who were living upon the cavities of the Meteora complex. This gathering was happening for a liturgical purpose: to pray all together under the protection of the Sunday liturgy to God.

The abbot of Virgin Mary’s temple, took the title of the first one, which means the headpriest of the temple. The most imposing and leading figure of the temple of Virgin Mary (or Dhoupiani) was the very first abbot by the name Nelos. He was the founder and establisher of the Monastery of Candlemas of Jesus during 1366/67. Today both the Monastery and the temple of Dhoupiani are under the protection of the Great Meteoron Monastery.

The temple of Virgin Mary or Dhoupiani, is referenced within the emperor’s Andronikus the 3rd golden edict from 1336. The edict can be found on the northern wall of the memorable and historic temple of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in the city of Kalambaka. The edict gives the control of the temple of Dhoupiani to the local bishopric of Stagoi, Likewise, the temple of Dhoupiani is referenced within the sigil (1393) of the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthony the 4th, which can also be found inscribed upon the southern wall of the temple of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. The prototype, which is written in parchment, can be found displayed in the museum of Varlaam’s Monastery in Meteora. The temple of Virgin Mary of Dhoupiani celebrates every year on the 24th of April.


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