General description- History
The foundation of the monastery of the Great Meteoron or the Transfiguration is the starting point of the organized monastic life at Meteora. This monastery is the oldest, largest and most formal of the extant Meteora Monasteries as its name “Great Meteoron” implies. Perched on the most imposing rock, it occupies a commanding position among the monastic complex of Meteora.
The Meteoron was founded shortly before the middle of the 14th century by Saintly Athanasios the Meteoran who was also its first founder and the first to organize a systematic monastic community.
The successor of Athanasios and second founder of the Monastery was the saintly monk Ioasaph the ex-king Ioannis Uresis (Uros) Angelos Komninos Palaeologos. He was appointed to take Athanasio’s place.
Nowadays, as one climbs up the rock-hewn stairway to the monastery, on the left, just before the entrance, one can see the hermitage of Saint Athanasios within the natural crevice in the rock arranged as a humble and basic dwelling with the essential tiny chapel. Here, according to the tradition, the saintly hermit first lived alone after he had scaled the ‘‘Wide Rock’’ and before he built a church on the rocky ledge and cells for the monks who very early started to gather here.
The monastery flourished in the middle of the 16th century.