In the heart of central Greece and on the edge of the Plain of Thessaly are the Metéora, which literally means the rocks suspended in air. It’s from this word that we get the modern word meteors – rocks from outer space. In reality they are pillars of harder than average sandstone that have survived the erosion of the softer material that once surrounded them. Six religious retreats have been built on top of these pillars and one of the most famous is the Roussanou Monastery. It was rebuilt by two brothers, Maximos and Ioasaph (Joseph)*, in 1545 and dedicated to St. Barbara whose sacred day is the 4th of December. Over the centuries its fortunes grew and faded. From 1730 to 1937 it was largely uninhabited although many of its relics remained within its walls. Shortly after the Nazi occupation of Greece in 1941 it was stripped of its treasures by the occupying soldiers. Most of these have never been recovered. The monastery consists of three levels which include the church, cells, guest quarters, reception halls and a display hall.
Since 1988 Roussanou Monasteryhas been the home of a small group of nuns. Since the construction of a wooden bridge in 1800’s it has been relatively easy to visit the location and the nuns are said to be quite welcoming. As with Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland there are rumored to be sealed caves carved into the stone under the building but, as yet, no excavations have been permitted. *The original brothers that founded the monastery are occasionally referred to as Nikodemus and Benedict..
Thanks +Ralph Roberts