Ayios Stephanos Review
At the far end of the eastern sector of the Meteora is Ayios Stephanos, the oldest monastery—a permanent bridge has replaced the movable one that once connected the monastery with the hill opposite, making this perhaps the most easily accessible, with a car road passing not far below the entrance. According to an inscription that was once on the lintel, the rock was inhabited before 1200 and was the hermitage of Jeremiah. After the Byzantine emperor Andronicus Paleologos stayed here in 1333 on his way to conquer Thessaly, he made generous gifts to the monks, which funded the building of a church in 1350. Today Ayios Stephanos is an airy convent, where the nuns spend their time painting Byzantine icons, writing, or studying music; some are involved in the community as doctors and professors. The katholikon has no murals but contains a carved wooden baldachin and an iconostasis depicting the Last Supper. You can also visit the 15th-century frescoed church of Ayios Stephanos as well as a small icon museum.
- Address: Along eastern monastery route (from main road at intersection for Kalambaka, bear right at fork)
- Phone: 24320/22279
- Cost: €2
- Hours: Apr.–Oct., Tues.–Sun. 9–1:30 and 3:30–5:30; Nov.–Mar., Tues.–Sun. 9:30–1 and 3–5
- Location: The Meteora