Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Holy Monastery of St Barbara Roussanou

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Our first stop on Saturday morning was the Monastery of St Barbara – Roussanou, a women’s monastery with 14 nuns. Of the six active monasteries currently at Meteora (there were, at its height, 24 men’s monasteries), two are now women’s.

The current structure dates from the early 1500s. The main church features some gorgeous iconography from the famous Cretan school (click for info and photos).

After venerating inside the church, one of the nuns asked us to – of course – have coffee and a sweet. We had a nice visit with her, and she told us some of the long history of the monastery. I asked her also the thousands of tourists who flood the monastery, and she offered some interesting insight into national differences.

She said Americans were generally very respectful, Germans were cold, and Italians were the worst – talkative and loud. Interestingly, she said the Chinese and Japanese were extremely quiet and reverent, and often asked how to make the sign of the cross, etc.

Anyway, as for the photos:

The top is from where we parked the car, looking up at the monastery.

The second is of Fr Joseph and Kh Sophia as we stopped for a break on the stairs on the way up. You can see the Monastery of St Varlaam in the background and behind it and to the left, you can just barely make out the Monastery of Great Meteora.

The third is taken from the top, looking down at a garden inside the monastery. You can see Fr Joseph and Pelagia on the bridge admiring the garden.

The fourth is of Fr Joseph at the top, just outside the church, taking in the view.

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