1510-2010 A.D.

500 years of Monastic life and Orthodox presence

The History of the Monastery

While ascending the winding road that leads us from Kastraki to the heart of the monastic community of Holy Meteora, past the small chapel of Panagia Doupiani, we come across the first monastery, St Nikolaos Anapafsas.
Should we gaze at the rock on which this small but quaint monastery hangs, we can start realizing the number of difficulties which the monks had to face while living on the top of these gigantic rocks, rising to the sky like flames.
Nowadays, the ascend to the monastery of St Nikolaos Anapafsas is easy and pleasant, as the visitor walks through a picturesque, lush landscape. Upon arriving at the Monastery, the pilgrim is given the opportunity to admire from close up the exquisite frescoes decorating the main church of the Monastery.
Our Monastery has recently celebrated 500 years of Monastic Life and Orthodox evidence (1510-2010).
St Dionysios, Bishop of Larissa the Merciful, and hieromonk Nikanor were the founders of this Monastery.

The theology of the holy icons

The features of the orthodox painting are modesty and solemnity as it is the spiritual not the physical beauty that matters. Holy people are depicted as unfading, spiritually and physically robust, bold and brave at heart, direct, sincere and with integrity.
The icon is the ladder that takes us to heaven but also brings heaven to earth! It is the meening point for the fading and unfading, past and future, "now" and "ever"  !
The orthodox church is heaven on earth, it is the place where God resides and walks among people, according to St John Chrisostomos. The church is decorated with frescoes as  "the icon is a reminder. And as the Bible serves the literate  one, so does the icon serve the illiterate ones..."

The monumental painting of the 16th century and Theofanis at St Nikolaos Anapafsas

The 16th century stands out as the century of growth for monumental painting in the great monastic centres of Agion Oros and Meteora.
The main representative of this art is the painter Theofanis the Cretan.
Theofanis the Cretan seems to be the first accomplished heir of the art of old artists. His work depicts the spirit of orthodox worship.
The mixture of sadness and joy, the essence of our religion, projects through his works. Theofanis narrates the orthodox tradition of spirit and shapes that he has inherited, adding colour to the unfading.

I wish every pilgrim a pleasant stay at Holy Meteora and i hope each one has the chance to get familiar with the work of the great teacher of Cretan School, Theofanis the Cretan, who painted the katholicon of our Monastery.

The Hegoumenos

Archimandrite Polikarpos
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