Continental Greece attracted me primarily by meteors. Such a “star” name of the monasteries was remembered and intrigued – from where? Immediately, an association with the cosmos and God, who is probably out there somewhere, still exists … And although now I know that from Greek this word is translated as “floating in the air”, fully reflecting the reality, my version also has the right to a life. Because the Meteors, laid down before the 10th century, represent the center of the Orthodox monasticism of Greece at the level of Athos. Only Athos is not available to women in principle, and Meteors – please. In addition, all the remaining monasteries Meteor since 1988 are included in the UNESCO list of protected.
We went to the mountains of Thessaly, sheltered Meteora, early in the morning, spent the night in the town of Kalambaka at their foot. This is how it looks from a bird’s eye view and for tourists traveling to Meteora.
The views that open from the mountain serpentine are not impressive – they are amazing!
Just by watching Meteors from the side, you get absorbed by the unusualness of this phenomenon even now, when all the monasteries are paved with the roads that buses carry crowds of tourists.
This photo surprised me very much: if I hadn’t been the author (not owning photoshop, by the way!), I’d have challenged its authenticity! So unexpected and unnatural, surrounded by stormy greenery, this bare rock with a monastery on a sloping summit. In Meteora, there are now 2 female and 4 male monasteries, but they cannot be called solitary at all: tourist vanity.
But when the first hermits went to bare rocks, away from people and closer to God, it was certainly an asceticism.
At first they lived in caves or rocky depressions, praying in open areas. But for certain ceremonies they had to go down to church. To be completely independent, you had to build your own. Thus, in the 10th century, the first skete appeared, after which others began to be built.
Building materials, like everything else, the monks raised with ropes in baskets to a height of 400 meters! They say they built the house quickly, in 20 days. Only here materials were collected for him for 20 years …
Perhaps that is why Meteors became the spiritual center: there were no random people here. It is impossible to endure such difficulties and hardships without an unshakable faith and true vocation to serve the Lord. At various times there were up to 25 monasteries. How many single monasteries, cells and caves – no one knows. Therefore, the energy of the centuries-old “namolennosti”, concentrated in Meteora, still heals people.
Confirmation of this – the story of a truly paradise Kalashnikova in the convent of St. Stephanie, where 38 nuns live.
20 years before our visit, a sick woman appeared in this monastery, about whom nothing is known except her surname. Having tried to no avail every imaginable means of treatment, she came to prepare for the “care”: to pray, repent, cleanse the soul … Probably, Meteors helped her to know something that turned out to be stronger than all drugs and diseases: the woman went home healthy. The guide said that she still lives to this day, and, although she does not come to the monastery any more, she regularly sends donations. This chapel and bell tower, covered with spruce, are built on them. And a wonderful park with amazing roses is laid out …
Oases of greenery and well-groomedness among the rocks, like this one not even mini, but a micro-garden, touches and sinks into the soul no less than the rarities of everyday life, icons and holy relics.
The monastery complex Meteor itself is also astonishing because it gives each person something different. A traveler who knows the world will get unforgettable impressions here. The pilgrim, who knows himself and God, is enriched by immeasurably greater: knowledge, which so far eluded; or feelings that were not available before; or inner harmony.