November 2010 - Meteora Greece
Last week I showed you some of the monasteries in Meteora.
This week I have another monastery for you.
The rock, on the top of which the monastery is built, is vertical, steep and narrow. Visitors are impressed when they see it from a distance. The monastery spreads all over the surface of the peak of the rock and it gives the impression of a single construction. The present construction shape was formed during the third decade of the 16thcentury. The monastery has three floors. The katholikon and the cells are on the ground floor and on the other floors there are reception halls, the “archontariki” (=guest quarters), the exhibition room, other cells and subsidiary rooms. On the base of the rock, rooms for other use (workrooms, library etc) are built.
Rousannou (Ρουσανου) Monastery was founded around 1545 by Maximos and Ioasaph of Ioannina. The reason for the monastery's name is not known - it is actually dedicated to St. Barbara - but may reflect the name of a hermit who occupied the rock. It soon declined and became subject to Varlaam Monastery by 1614.
The monastery once again fell into disrepair for the two centuries prior to the 1940s, when it was damaged in World War II then plundered by the Germans. It was later repaired by the regional archaeological service and since 1988 it has been occupied by a small community of 13 nuns.
Rousannou Monastery stands on a low rock and is easily accessible by a bridge built of wood in 1868 and replaced by more solid material in 1930. Despite this, its situation is still quite dramatic, with the rock dropping off sharply on all sides.
We'll have lunch down there later.