The Holy Monastery
of Saint Nicolas Anapafsas is the first Monastery (on our left hand
side) that we meet as going up to the Holy Meteora. The monastery is
only a short walk from Kastraki (a small village just 2 km away from
Kalambaka). It is built on
an 85 metres’ high rock and is
surrounded by the deserted monasteries of John Prodromos, Holy Trinity
and the chapel of Panagia Doupiani.
The Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas was founded at the end of the
15th century. The limited surface of the rock forced the building of the
monastery to be built on floors, one on top of the other.
Access is achieved
through an inbuilt staircase. At the
entrance of the Monastery lie the Church of St. Anthony and the crypt
where codes and the monastery’s heirlooms were previously stored.
On the walls, paintings of the 14th Century can be seen.
The Katholikon, where St. Nicolas is honoured, is on the second floor
and it is elongated and stuck on to the south side of the wall of the
The dome of the church is low and has no windows.
the third floor rests the Holy Table, decorated with murals. The Table,
recently restored, is used as a reception area for the visitors. There
is even the ossuary, the cells of the monks and the chapel of St. John
Since the space is restricted and there is no courtyard, the monks could
only gather in the narthex, which was roomy, when there were no
liturgies in the nave.
For the name
"Anapafsas" there are numerous interpretations. It is highly probable
that it was attributed the name of one of the monastery’s benefactors.
The monastery and the current Katholikon of the Monastery were renovated
in the early 16th century by the Bishop of Larisa Nicolas, Saint
Dionysus and the Abbot of
are portraits of the founders painted in the narthex of the Monastery.
The 1527 AD the hagiography of the Monastery was completed
Theophanis the Cretan, who is included in the most significant
hagiographers of the Mount Athos’
and Orthodoxy in general. His exquisite murals are considered to be the
best in Meteora and render the monastery a true gem, abounding in
vitality, plasticity, freshness and bright tones. There is also a
notable overall high quality and excellence in design and color of the
figures. The rules and the aesthetic principles of the Cretan mural
school have been formulated here.
The monastery has been closed and without monks since 1909.
That year, N. Veis
paid a visit to the monastery to record the existent manuscripts.
He discovered 50 codes which were
transferred to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, where they are still
In the 1960s, the monastery was reconstructed and restored under the
supervision of the 7th Inspectorate of Antiquities. There has also been
maintenance of the murals, which regained their old splendor.
OPENING HOURS OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF SAINT NICOLAS
Translation by Christine Boutsia