Varlaam Monastery in Meteora
The Monastery of Varlaam in Meteora: The Holy Monastery of Varlaam was named after its founder, the ascetic monk Varlaam who lived in a cave as a hermit and built a chapel on top of a rock. In the 16th century, two brothers, Theophanis and Nektarios Apsaradas who were both monks, enlarged the chapel and built a monastery.
The monastery was actually founded in 1517 and was decorated in 1548 by Frangos Kastellanos, an important Byzantine iconographer, who painted some beautiful frescoes in the church of Agioi Pantes. It has another church to the north side, dedicated to the Three Bishops: St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian and St John the Chrysostom. This church, known as the Chapel of the Three, was built in 1627 and has a square-shaped cross on the roof.
The male monastery can be accessed through the main road after climbing 195 steps carved in the rock. The Monastery of Varlaam hosts a museum in the old refectory and is known for its great frescoes. Every now and then, a monk sits in the garden and starts conversations with the visitors. It is the second largest monastery of Meteora and is open to the public, visited by lots of pilgrims all year round.