All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page added in October 2010.
- page three: inside the monasteries
The monastery of Megalo Metereon was founded by Athanasius Koinovitis, a monk from Mount Athos (St. Athanasius Meteorites for the Greek Orthodox Church), in 1356; it was enlarged and embellished towards the end of the century by John Uros, a member of the Serbian dynasty ruling Thessaly, who became a monk and later on the leader of the community; the apse of the katholikon is part of the original building, while the rest of it was modified in the XVIth century.
Varlaam monastery was founded in the XVIth century on the site of the lodgings of Varlaam, a hermit; the katholicon (dedicated to All Saints) was completed in 1544; it incorporates a previous chapel; it has a second dome above the narthex. The image used as background for this page is based on paintings inside the katholicon.
The interior of most of the churches was decorated with frescoes, some of which have required a lengthy restoration because of the damage caused by abandonment, WWII and the Greek Civil War which followed; the subjects are those traditional in the Greek Orthodox Church.
The frescoes inside the only church of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas were painted by Theophanes Strelitzas, a monk from Candia (today Iraklion), the main town of Crete. Owing to his exposure to Italian art (the island was a Venetian possession) his works soften the rigidity of Byzantine paintings.
The ingenuity and skill of Theophanes Strelitzas are particularly evident in the small scenes which surround the main subject, which is treated in a traditional way.
The depiction of the Last Judgement is an integral part of the decoration of an Orthodox church; it is placed so that the faithful see it on their way out of the building, in order to remind them that they will be judged for their actions; the structure of the painting follows a rigid pattern; the artist can show his skill and his ingenuity only in portraying the wicked.
Monasteries were accessed by rope ladders, while the old and the sick were hauled up in a net raised by a hoist; as a matter of fact this equipment was mainly used for commodities.
Although some modern visitors would enjoy being raised in a net, as a sort of extreme sport, today the monasteries are accessed via steps cut into the rock and commodities arrive via small cable cabins.
Move to page one - introduction or page two: views of the monasteries.
SEE THESE OTHER EXHIBITIONS (for a full list see my detailed index).