Friday, July 20, 2012

Saint Stephanos Monastery, Meteora

Saint Stephanos Monastery is one of the two female monasteries in Meteora and the richest one, out of the six. It is built at the southernmost edge of Meteora, having a fantastic view of the town beneath it, i.e. Kalambaka. It is the most accessible of all the monasteries to the visitor, who is able to visit it through a small bridge.

The exact date of the monastery’s establishment is unknown. On an inscription near the entrance one could see the year 1192 and the name Ieremias, which is supposed to refer to the first hermit that lived on the rock. Holy Antonios (15th century) and the blessed Philotheos (16th century) are mentioned as the hiermonks of the monastery.

The central church (katholikon) was built in 1798, according to the architectural style of the Holy Mountain, being dedicated to the memory of glorious martyr Saint Charalambos. The modern hagiography (still underway) is made by the famous Greek hagiographer Vlassios Tsotsonis.

Currently, the nuns run a plethora of activities. They manage with hagiography, Byzantine music, while also producing important spiritual, social and charitable work. The monastery operates workshops of hagiography, calligraphy and manuscript decoration, golden embroidery, incense production and candle making. During the last years, furthermore, they run a program of listing, documentation and restoration of the monastery’s monumental treasures. 

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