Meteora – Agia Triada, Holy Trinity monastery
Made famous by James Bond, Agia Triada (also Aghia Triada; “Holy Trinity”) is probably the most dramatically positioned monastery of the Meteora. It is perched atop a slender pinnacle and accessible only by 150 steep steps, making it one of the most peaceful monasteries as well. It’s the most well known but the least visited.
History of Agia Triada Monastery
Hermit monks may have lived here beginning in the 14th century, but the present monastery was built between 1458 and 1476.
Until the 20th c. monks, pilgrims and supplies reached the monastery only by means of rope-ladders and baskets. But in 1925, access to the rock was eased by the addition of rock-hewn stairs.
Agia Triada suffered greatly in World War II and the German occupation, during which virtually all its treasures were looted by the Germans.
What to See at Agia Triada Monastery
Few tour buses stop at Holy Trinity Monastery, so it is comparatively peaceful and some semblence of monastic life is able to continue. It is inhabited and maintained by just a few monks.
The courtyard displays old farm implements and the old winch for hauling up baskets (a funicular now carries supplies to the top), as well as inspirational quotes from 1 Corinthians 13 (e.g. “Love is patient”). The monastic buildings are attractively half-timbered.
The small church (1476) has an exterior of brick and tile and is augmented by a large, unattractive narthex (1684). It has two domes, reflecting two building phases.
The frescoes in the church date from the 18th century and the those in the narthex from the 17th; they have been well restored. The church contains one of the few portable treasures that survived the 20th century: a Gospel book printed in Venice in 1539, with a silver cover.
Carved into the rock off the passageway into the courtyard is a round Chapel of John the Baptist (1682), which may occupy the site of an early hermitage. Holy Trinity owns over 120 religious manuscripts copied by its monks over the centuries, but for practical reasons these are kept at Agios Stefanos Monastery.