Visiting Megalo Meteoro Monastery

Location: Monastery in central Greece, 14th century

Job Description: The faint of heart need not apply. In addition to a strong spiritual aptitude and vows of celibacy and simplicity, each applicant must:

(1) Thrive on the heights.

It's a LONG way up

Yesterday we visited the oldest and largest monastery in Greece, Magalo Meteoro, founded in 1382 on a sheer peak 2,045 feet high.

(2) Complete a vertical commute to work each day.

See the net way at the top?

Goods and people were winched up by a windlass mechanism in a net that descended from a tower. 21st century brothers have it a bit easier: they use cable-cars.

(3) Keep one’s legs covered.

Maggie with sister monk-ettes

Monks wore robes, and to tour the monastery women must wear skirts.

(4) Labor diligently.

Storage room for wine jugs

Monks’ days were divided into three parts: eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, and eight hours of prayer. Wine-making was a major industry at Meteora.

(5) Be prepared to live with fellow monks a VERY long time.

Past residents of Meteoro

Mike shot this photo while peering into the ossuary at Meteoro, which displays the skulls of deceased residents in nice neat rows.

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While we may not covet their spartan way of life, we can’t help but admire the monks’ single-minded devotion to Christ along with their painstaking preservation of the sacred word of God. Throughout centuries of turmoil and political upheaval, these gentle scholars lived and died in community.

In their museum, priceless manuscripts of the early church fathers are displayed along with copies of the scriptures dating back to the 10th century. Many brothers were also highly skilled artists, painting incredibly detailed frescoes and icons telling the stories of those martyred for the Christian faith as well as the message of the gospel. Their spiritual vision saw beyond our contemporary focus on comfort, convenience, and personal autonomy.

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad job after all.