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Meteora Monasteries

In these rocks plenty of brave hermits also found refuge, seeking spiritual calmness and peace of mind, while aiming at Christian perfection through their prayers. In the beginning those hermits prayed in isolation in small chapels, the so-called "prosefhadia" (=places for praying), not only for their own salvation but for the salvation of all people. They led an austere life and worked arduously.

It remains unknown when the rocks were inhabited but, according to existing scripts, monastic life appeared after it had been set up. Byzantinologists claim that the first hermits must have taken to the rocks around the end of the first millennium. The first hermit mentioned is Varnavas (around 950-970 AD), who founded the cave-chapel of Ayio Pnevma (The Holy Spirit), followed by the foundation of the cloister of the Transfiguration of Jesus by the Cretan monk Andronikos in the beginning of 1000 AD. Later on, around 1150-1160 AD, the cloister of Stayi or Doupiani was founded.

Apart from the aforementioned hermitages there were others built in various caves around the rock of Doupiani, the rock of the Holy Spirit and the one of "Sourloti". In the beginning of the 12th century a small hermitage community was set up in the area of Meteora, centered around the chapel of Theotokos, called the "Kyriako" or the "Protato" (first). This chapel has been preserved until our days and is found on the south of the Doupiani rock.

In this small chapel hermits met to join their prayers to God, to discuss their problems and to seek each other's advice on issues related to their hermitages. The head of the Skete of Doupiani or the Skete of Stayi held the title of the "First" as well as that of the"leading man" of the Monastery of Theotokos of Doupiani.