St Stephen Monastery (Meteora)

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The St Stephen Monastery or Agios Stefanos Monastery at Meteora is a female monastery in the complex of six monasteries at Meteora, Greece.

History

St Stephen Monastery' was founded around 1400 by St. Antoninus Cantacuzene. The original church of the monastery, dedicated to St Stefanos, was built in the sixteenth century. The church has a timbered roof and is decorated with wall paintings done in 1545 by the priest Ioannis from Stagoi.

The katholikon, which is dedicated to St Haralambos, was built in 1798 and holds the skull of the saint that was given to the nuns by Prince Vladislav of Wallachia.

The monastery was built on the plain of Meteora and not on a pinnacle as are other. As a consequence it was damaged and abandoned during World War II. In the Civil War that followed World War II, the monastery was further desecrated during which many of the frescos were destroyed by communist rebels.

In 1961, a number of nuns took possession of the monastery facilities and began restoring it. Among the surviving frescos is one of the Virgin in the apse of the fifteenth century refectory. The restoration in the katholikon includes painting of new frescos by modern artists.

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