In a small distance from the rock of the Great Meteoron Monastery there is the smaller, yet very imposing rock of the Monastery of Varlaam. According to the tradition the first inhabitant went there 600 years ago an the 14th century. He was contemporary of Saint Athanasios, the ascete-anchorite Varlaam who also gave his name to the monastery.
The present magnificent Katholikon that is honoured in memory of All Saints was erected in 1541/42 by the two brothers priest-monks from Ioannina T h e o p h a n i s (+ 17th May 1544) and N e k t a r i o s (+ 17th April 1550) Apsaras, as it is written in the inscriptions and the archive. Actually, it seems that the main construction of the katholikon had finished in 1541/42, while the rest of the works in the church and the narthex continued until May 1544, as we conclude from the memorandum of the priest-monk Cassianos ex-Abbot of the Simonos-Petra Monastery, which is refered to the death of the priest-monk Theophanis. According to the text Theophanis died on 17th May 1544 on Saturday, just before the Sunday of the Blind man.
During his last moments summoning up all his energy, he went out of his cell with a lot of difficulty supporting himself to his stick and eagerly went to the newly constructed church. Fascinated by its beauty and glamour, he glorified God and All Saints to whom he had devoted the church. Then he blessed all the monks who had worked very hard in the monastery as quarrymen, builders, woodcarvers, for the completion and the illustration of the church and finally deeply satisfied and stirred, he returned to his cell where he died in peace consigning his soul to his Creator:
« Επί έτους ζνβ’ [7052-5508 = 1544], κατά τον μηνα Μαιον, τη αυτου ιζ’, Σαββατου λαχουσης της ημερας, ωρα δε ενατη, ετελειωθη ο πανσεπτος και περικαλλης ναος συν τω ναρθηκι, επανω της ιερας πετρας του Βαρλααμ, δια συνδρομης κοπων τε και εξοδων των πανοσιωτατων και αιδεσιμωτατων πατερων, των και αυταδελφων, κυρου Νεκταριου και κυρου Θεοφανους, των μακαριων ανδρων. Εν τωδε τω καιρω ησθενησεν ωσει μηνας δεκα ο μακαριος Θεοφανης και τοσουτω δαμασθεις υπο της πολλης ασθενειας, οτι σχεδος εγγισας εως των πυλων του θανατου΄απο δε του ποθου, ουπερ ειχε προς τον ναον, εγερθεις προθυμως και περιχαρης, οια και ην ασθενης στηριζομενος υπο της ραβδου αυτου, ενδον εισελθων και ιδων την τελειωσιν του ιερου ναου και υψωσας τας χειρας εις τον ουρανον και το ‘δοξα σοι ο Θεος’ επειπων, τους δε Αγιους Παντας ευχαριστησας εκ ποθου – ουτω γαρ τω ναω τω καινω ουτος προσηγορευσατο-, ομοιως ουν ευχομενος και ευλογων και παντας τους αδελφους, λατομους, οικοδομους, κτιστας τε και τους λεπτουργους, επισης εδεξιωσατο και υπερηυχησατο η ηγιασμενη ψυχη. Ειτα παλιν εστραφη τοις ιδιοις ποσι πορευομενος εν τω κελλιω αυτου και, σχηματισαμενος εαυτον τω τυπω του ζωοποιου σταυρου, κατεθετο το ιερον σκηνος επι την στρωμνην αυτου, ορων προς ανατολας...» (κωδ. 180 και 275 Μ. Βαρλααμ).
“In the year ζνβ΄[7052-5508=1544] during the month of May the 17 on Saturday at the ninth hour the most venerable and beautiful church and the narthex finished on the holy rock of Varlaam with the efforts and at the expenses of the most Saintly and Revenered Fathers Nektarios and Theophanis, who were physical brothers. At that time, the blessed Theophanis had become ill for ten months and he was so exhausted by the serious illness that he almost died. But so eagerly did he want to see the church, that he left his bed willfully and joyfully, despite he was ill and being supported by his stick he went into the church where he saw its completion. Then he raised his hands glorifying God and All Saints (to whom he had dedicated the church) and he blessed and prayed for the whole brotherhood the builders, quarrymen, woodcarvers. After that he went back to his cell making the sign of the cross, he lay down looking at the East… (cod. 180 and 275 Mon. of Varlaam).