THE MONASTERY OF HOLY TRINITY
Imposing and magnificent rises the step rock on the plateau of which the Holy Trinity Monastery is perched.
The visitor and pilgrim tired from the difficult descend to the valley and then the ascend on the rock is richly compensated by the magnificent view he looks from the balcony of the monastery. On the south, at the foot of the rock is lying the town of Kalabaka with the river Peneios flowing peacefully and the mountain massifs of Koziakas and Pindos further away. On the west the Monastery of Varlaam is discerned and a little furter the Monastery of Great Meteoron. On the East, very near, there is the Monastery of St. Stephen.
In the past a rope ladder and the traditional net were used for the ascend on the rock. In 1925 during the bishopric of the Metropolitan Polycarpos [Thomas] and the abbacy of Nikanor Stathopoulos the chiseled staircase with 140 steps was constructed so today this is the one the visitor uses.
According to the tradition, which is not confirmed by other information sources and testimonia, the monastery was originally built in 1438 by a certain monk Dometios. We do not know anything about this person. Perhaps the first hermits had built their hermitages here at the beginning of the 14th century as it happened with most of the rocks of Meteora.
In a decree of Symeon Uresis Palaeologos of the year 1362 which is kept in the archive of the Great Meteoron Monastery are already mentioned “Meteoron and Holy Trinity” which means that Holy Trinity was an organized monastery at that time as well.
The present main church represents the original constructural fase of the monastery and it is the most interesting of all the buildings. It seem that it was erected in 1475/76 as it is written on a plinth on the south outer wall with the date (6984 since the creation of the world = 1475/76). It is a small two columned cruciform church with a central dome on its roof. The east side of the church, where is the three-sided sanctuary apse with a bilobe window has cloisonné masonry and rich ceramic decoration such as serrated fascias and other ornaments. On the lateral conches the masonry is simple. There is only one window on each side, so the nave is relatively dark. The dome is polygonic with monolobe windows, plinth colonnettes and serrated fascias.
The present painting of the church is, according to the inscription, work of the painters priest Antonios and his brother Nicholaos in 1741 during the bishopric of Theophanis and the abbacy of Parthenios. Although it is later, it continues the tradition of the fine post-byzantine art successfully. On the dome Pantokrator is represented and on the pendentives the four Evangelists one of whom, Luke, is represented to pain the icon of Virgin Mary like on the dome of the nave of Varlaam Monastery.
The interesting old wood-carved iconostasis was stolen in 1979 and is replaced by another one nowadays. Along with the iconostasis its icons were stolen as well which were old and artistically remarkable. On of them was the Virgin Mary painted by the hand of Rizos from the region of Agrafa in 1718 and another one is of the Christ of the year 1662.
The ample vaulted esonarthex is a later addition to the nave. It was built in 1689 and decorated in 1692 during the bishopric of Arsenios and the abbacy of Ionas, as the inscription inorms us.
In 1684 a small sacristy was added next to the sanctuary. The construction complex of the monastery also includes a ferectory, cells, reception rooms tanks and other service rooms. All these are renovated and well preserved nowadays.
Very interesting is the chapel of St. John the Baptist that one can meet on the left side along the corridor after the entrance of the monastery. It is a small circular church with a dome, hewn on the rock and very well illustrated. According to its inscription it was built and painted in 1682 at the expenses and with the labor of the priest-monks Damaskinos, Ionas and Parthenios. Perhaps before its turning to a church, it was originally the hermitage of a hermit.
The French archaeologist-traveler L. Heuzey, who visited the monasteries of Meteora in the summer of 1858 reports that in the chapel of St. John the Baptist (without mentioning the exact point) he read the inscription: “by the humble and poor monk Nikodemos”. This inscription carved on a plinth in inscribed on the south outer side of the katholikon. We do not know when and why it was removed from the chapel as well as what exactly was the construction of the monk Nikodemos.
Nowadays to the Monastery of Holy Trinity belong 124 manuscripts which are kept (since 1953) in the sacristy of the Monastery of St. Stephen. This collection includes manuscripts formerly belonging (until 1909) to other smaller monasteries of Meteora; St. Nicholaos Anapafsas and Roussano. Of particular interest is the personal library (which certainly included many rare palaetypes) of the scholar Paisios Klinovitis the active bishop of Stagoi (12 May 1784-1808) which he had donated to Holy Trinity Monastery. Unfortunately this library is not preserved nowadays. It was lost probably during the last war along with other precious heirlooms and holy vessels of the Monastery.