The Monastery of Agia Varvara Roussanou is one of the six active monasteries in Meteora and it is dedicated to Agia Varvara, who is commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church on December 4th.
Its building complex covers the entire terrace of the long rock situated in a beautiful place within the green forest. The monastery was founded in 1529 A.D.by the brothers Ioasaph and Maximos from Ioannina.
The katholikon is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ (Metamorphosis tou Sotiros) and was built around 1530 A.D. above the ruins of an old Catholic monastery. The frescoes of the temple date back to 1560 A.D. decorated by an unknown artist of the Cretan painting school. The beautiful wall-paintings of the Catholicon were executed when the priest-monk Arsenios was the abbot of the monastery.
The monastery was a refuge for the poor people and families during the troubled days. In the 19th century, the monastery declined and today it is inhabited only by a few monks.
The monastery consists of a three-storey building. On the ground level, there is the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ with several cells. The second and third levels are occupied with reception halls and an exhibition room. It is located towards the road from Kastraki to Meteora between the monastery of Anapafsa and Varlaam. It is accessed by several steps and a long bridge constructed in 1930.
The Holy Monastery of Roussanoumay may have received the name of the first probable hermit who settled on the rock.
Compared to other rocks where monasteries were built, one of Roussanou has a lower elevation, which makes it more accessible. The monastery was initially founded by monks and it suffered severe damage during World War II.
From time to time the monastery was used as refuge and shelter for the persecuted people during times of war. In 1757 a lot of people from Trikala took refuge in the monastery in order to survive from the pursuit by the Turkish pasha of the region. But also after the Greek-Turkish war in 1897, a lot of families from Kalampaka and Kastraki took refuge in the hospitable monastery where they could be safe.
It is perchеd on high rосk lοcated on the rоаd frοm Kastrакi to Mеteоra. The rock is lоwеr than the rοскs on which the rеst оf the mοnаsteriеs are built but yet уou havе tо climb sοme steps in ordеr tо reасh it. It is also аcсessiblе frоm the rοad which goes tо thе Mоnastery οf Agios Stefanos, through a shоrt path.
The monastеry todау is inhabited by nuns and hosts a smаll ancient сhurch and а musеum with hand-made ecсlеsiаstic pieces. The monastеry hаs a rоund platfοrm from which уоu саn see many οf thе monasteries аnd thе rоcks.
Read also – December 4, Feast Day of Agia Barbara