St. Nikolaos Anapafsas
Near Kastraki , on a narrow cliff , lies the Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas . The monastery was restored in the early 16th century when the church was built from scratch. On the second floor there is the church of the monastery with a small dome in the center of the roof which was painted in 1527 by the famous Cretan painter Theophanes Strelitzas.
Ascent to Rousanos until 1897 was possible only by means of ladders and later by two wooden bridges.The monastery consists of a three-story complex . Downstairs are the cells with the reception rooms ,while the Archontariki and other facilities are located on the upper floors . The church has frescoes made in 1560 AD in a style that belongs to the Cretan School, influenced by the historical and dogmatic convictions of the Orthodox church.The Temple is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and to Santa Barbara. Today the monastery functions as a nunnery.
The Monastery of Varlaam was built at an altitude of 373 metres. Access to the monastery was possible with scaffolding and later with large ladders and a net which is used today for carrying food and materials for the maintenance of the Monastery.In 1923 the monks carved into the rock 195 steps that lead us today on top of the rock. The church was built in 1541-1542AD. The frescoes of the church were painted in the mid 15th century by the painter , Catelanus .
The first founder of the monastery was the monk Varlaam , who in 1350 AD built a temple in the name of the Three Ierarches.The Monastery was revived in 1518 AD by the monks Nectarios and Theophanes who built the Church of John the Baptist and the Church of All Saints on the ruins of the old buildings.
The Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ is called the ” Great Meteor “, because of the size of the buildings (50 acres) and its spiritual radiation in the mid 16th century The monastery was built in 1340 AD by Athanasios Meteorites while the church was built in 1544-45 AD and decorated in 1552. Until 1923 the ascent was by ladders and net, which are still used today to carry things . Today there are 146 steep steps leading to the entrance of the monastery. The monastery features one of the richest libraries which functioned as a bibliographic laboratory in the 16th-17th centuries.
The Monastery of the Holy Trinity is considered the third oldest monastery of Meteora ,built in 1438 AD, while the main church was built in 1475-76 AD .It took 70 years to upload the materials and built the monastery due to the fact that it is the most inaccessible of all the monasteries of Meteora. Today it is accessed by walking 140 steps.To monastery has two churches , the nave and the small church of John the Prodromos. The murals were created in 1741. In 1909 Byzantinist P. Veis found 47 rare manuscripts which are kept in the sacristy of the Monastery of St. Stephen since, along with the manuscripts from the monasteries of Anapafsa and Rousanou.
The Holy nunnery of St. Stephen dates back in the 12th century. The monastery is the most easily accessible around the monastery complex of Meteora. Upon reaching the the courtyard of the monastery, the pilgrim faces the entrance of the new church which was built in 1798 by Abbot Ambrose and is honored to St. Charalambos. The monastery is associated with the ascetic monk Ieremia. The Ecumenical Patriarchate granted Stavropigio and proclaimed the monastery ” Stavropegic “.
In 1398 the ruler of Wallachia Vlatislavos donated to the monastery the Kara of St. Charalambos, who became its second patron saint.During the Macedonian Struggle the monastery served as a hideout and headquarters of the Macedonian soldiers. During the German occupation the monastery was bombed and the church of Agios Haralambos was destroyed and the abbot of the monastery was arrested and imprisoned. .
The interior frescoes are the work of painter Vlassis Tsotsonis . The iconostasis was carved and crafted in 1814 by craftsmen from Metsovo.