Zographou
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The Holy Monastery of Zographou is hidden on a wooded hillside on the south-western side of the Athos peninsula. According to tradition, its founders were three monks: Moses, Aaron, and John, from Ochrid, who became monks of the Holy Mountain in the 10th century. According to another account, the founder of the Monastery was ‘George the Painter (in Greek Zographos)’, who is mentioned in the Typikon of Tsimiskes (972). The Monastery is dedicated to St George, of whom it preserves an old icon, not painted by human hand, which is one of its most valued treasures.

We have no reliable information about the Monastery's early history. It is believed that in the 13th century Zographou became a largely Bulgarian foundation. At the end of the same century, 26 monks of Zographou suffered a martyr's death, for which the Emperor Michael VIII and the Patriarch Beccus were responsible, for opposing the union of the Eastern and Western churches and the pro-union policy of the political and ecclesiastical authorities. A cenotaph was set up in 1873 in memory of these Zographou martyrs.

Zographou was afflicted with raids by Catalan pirates, but recovered quickly with the help of grants and support from the Palaeologue Emperors and the princes of the Danubian Provinces. In the 15th century, Stephen the Good played a decisive role in aid to the Monastery and gave it a number of smaller monastic houses. Zographou had metochia in parts of Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, and Turkey, but retains today only those which are in Greece.

Down to the early 19th century, monks of Greek and Serbian origin lived together with the Bulgarians at the Monastery, but from 1845 onwards it has been purely Bulgarian. Between 1862 and 1869, almost half the Monastery was restored. It was at that time that the massive buildings on the north side with the monks' cells, the gatehouse and the western wing were added. In times of nationalistic fervour, particularly at the beginning of the present century, some Bulgarian monks adopted an anti-Greek position, but they never withdrew their loyalty from their canonical ecclesiatical authority, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constntinople. In 1974, a fire of limited extent gutted the southern side of the Monastery. Zographou comes ninth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monastic foundations.

The katholikon was built in the early 19th century. The phiale stands to the north-west of the church. Zographou has eight chapels and eight outlying chapels. In its library it has 126 Greek and 388 Slavonic manuscripts, and about 10,000 printed books. Amongst the better known treasures of the Monastery are two miraculous icons of Our Lady, Our Lady of the Akathistos Hymn and the Epakouousa. Today the Monastery has some 15 monks.



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Mount Athos \Monasteries \Zographou

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