The life of the Monks
Firstly, all the monasteries in Meteora operate as coenobiums, which is derived from the Greek words “κοινός” (koinos) and “βίος” (bios) meaning “common” and “life”. That means that the monks are part of a community, everything is in common inside the monasteries and that they share everything as well. No one has money for himself. Of course they have funds but that funds are common and the Abbot who lovingly takes care of the whole brotherhood of the monastery is in charge.
Every monk inside the monastery asks for the Abbot’s permission and blessing for everything he does. Also he reveals all his thoughts to him and receives spiritual guidance, in order to be blessed at the end of his life.
All the monks have to precisely follow the 3 basic rules of: purity, lack of property and obedience.
They wake up at 03:30 in the morning and pray, each one separately in their cells until 05:00. From 05:00 until 07:30 they have the services of Midnight, of Matins and of Hours that takes place at the church. They pray and fast according to the rules of the Orthodox Church the whole year. They care for the salvation of their souls, but at the same time they care about the other people and try to help them in many ways.
When a young man or woman comes to the monasteries in order to become a monk or a nun, at first they are being tested (novices), and then the Abbot decides if they are appropriate for monastic life or not. The monks and the nuns abandon the world and come to the monasteries of Meteora in order to be blessed. So, praying is of vital importance for them in order to live spiritually and come closer to God. They combine work with praying, in order to live physically too.
Today because the Meteora has become one of the most popular destinations worldwide, the monks and nuns are involved in welcoming people, so that the people that come to the Meteora can obtain many things from the Christian Orthodox tradition and the strong faith of the monks.
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Photos by Costas Balafas