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Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Another imposing monastery of Meteora, the 2nd bigest, which has been located on a rock at 370 meters high and provides a unique view to the visitor. The monastery was first inhabbited by ascet Varlaam, hence the designation, who on the top of the rock had built a small church, which have been dedicated to 3 Ierarchs and a small monastic cell. Finding clear water at that height was extremely difficult and as a result of that monks constructed a huge barell in which they were collecting rain water both for drinking and using to contructions.

After Varlaam’s dormition monastery remained closed for about 200 years and then two monks Theofanis and Nektarios, brothers originated from Ioannina, climb on the rock and they started contruction of new buildings and renovation of the old remainings. They had renovated the church of 3 Ierarchs and also built the main church of the monastery which commemorates the All Saints. Worth mentioning is altough the above construction works lasted for about a month, the transportation and the materials lifting lasted over 20 years. Major role on that time delay had played the morphology of the rock. Ascetes through wooden ladders was hanging of the rock forced to carry the contruction materials with risk of their own lives cause there was many gaps among the ladders and the ascetes needed to jump from one edge to the other at a height of hundrend meters. Over the years procedure has been simplified and has been made through the traditional net, which reduced in a small percentage the risk and the time delay. In the early 16th century a.d. and for the entire century the monastery was flourising having as result the total number of monks were living there to reach the number of 35, while from the 17th century a.d and till 1961 a.d it was a trully decline period. In that date (1961 a.d.) a monastic brotherhood was moved on the rock and started to operate the monastery. Worth mentionig some of those monks who later have become prominent personalities of Greece. In this brotherhood abbot was the former Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Kallinikos and other monks of the group was the blessed former ArchBishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the former Metropolitan Bishop Citrus, Katerini and Platamon Agathonikos and the recent abbot of the monastery archimandrite father Isidoros.

The monastery is been built at one level and in which to the east we meet the hospital and the chapel of St Anargiron, to the north side the catholic of All Saints,the guesthouse, the monastic cells and the net’s tower while to the west is been located the old kitchen, the refectory, the church of 3 Ierarchs and also monastic cells. The catholic has been commemorated the All Saints is Mount Athos type and it was built in 1541-1542 a.d. and was painted in 1548 a.d. as the sign at the south wall claims. Ahiographer’s name is not been mentioned anywhere but is been believed, due to the technique, to be a work of Frago Castelano. Narthex was painted in 1566 a.d. by brothers George and Frago Kontaris and in which we can see frescoes of Judgement Day as also painitings of the first builders Theofanis and Nektarios. In main church typical are the depicions of Platytera, Liturgy of Angels, the Crussified, God Almighty and scenes of life and passions of Jesus Christ. Worth mentioning the sacristy of the monastery in which have been placed objects of immense religion and cultural value and the portable icon of Mary holding the child among them. Christ painting was made by Emmanouel Tzane in 1668 a.d.

Access to the monastery is been made by stairs which have been carved to the rock and are about 200.Do not miss after entrying the monastery to follow the arxh covered path that leads to the small tiered yard with the amazing view.