Meteora , on the mainland of Greece, is a destination that inspires for many reasons. The geological features are just some of the details to explore. The religious significance of it brings a whole new appreciation and awareness of monastic life. It has been described as “suspended in the air or heavens”. The monasteries are built on sandstone rock pillars in an area of Central Greece. We stayed overnight in Kalambaka, the nearby town, and enjoyed a delicious meal. We reached Meteora by rental car from Athens. If you need another option, I’d suggest hiring a tour guide to take you there in an air-conditioned van or car.
Eastern Orthodoxy is a religion that dates back to Apostolic times. The sights, sounds, smells and feelings inside of an Orthodox church are powerful and engage all of the senses. Icons for visuals, hymns for sound, incense for scent, communion for taste and candlelight for feeling are all part of this process.
Meteora is both a religious and geological experience. Because it is so rich in meaning and beauty, there are so many facets to its brilliance! I wonder what our sons were thinking when they experienced Meteora and it’s breathtaking views. When you first arrive, you take in the altitude and the geological impressiveness of Meteora.
You take photos, you explore the hillside, and then you ascend to the monasteries. This can be challenging —Greece has many steep roads and inclines. In the picture below, my son is just a speck in the stairway. The physical breathlessness doesn’t even compare to the emotional breathlessness of the solemn and faith-filled ambience of what you find inside the monasteries.
From my journal: “The roads were very steep and the view is breathtaking and unlike any other we’ve seen. Walking up to the monastery at Meteora makes you experience this view and be part of it. Walking through this most peaceful, holy monastery with no tour guide makes it a meditative process.Seeing our sons light candles in this dark chapel is a full circle experience for us as parents, knowing this is why you bring your kids to Greece as Orthodox Christians and Greek children. Leaving the monastery, a guide gives you a loukoumi, probably symbolizing the sweetness of this experience.”
The icons, candles and monks graced the religious ambience of Meteora and filled us with prayer and a feeling of reverence for our Orthodox Christianity. Outside, I was touched to see a Greek flag standing proudly in the rocky ground. Rooted.
At 1 minute, 30 seconds into the video below, there is an interesting interview from an actor who explains his conversion and what his journey into Orthodoxy means to him.
photos by Patrick and Gina Kingsley
Stories like this can be found in the book A Magic Carpet Ride by Gina Michalopulos Kingsley