The Dionysiou Monastery is one of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. The monastery is on the southwestern side of the peninsula. Dionysiou ranks fifth in the hierarchical order on Mount Athos and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
Dionysiou Monastery was founded in the 14th century by St. Dionysios of Koreseos. The golden bull authorizing the founding of the monastery was signed in 1374 by Alexios II Comneno. A treasure, the bull is kept in the monastery. Construction proceeded with financial aid from emperor Alexios III Comnenos.
The monastery is built along the western coast of the peninsula on a rocky cliff high above the sea and overlooking a deep wooded ravine. In 1535, the monastery was swept by fire destroying it. Reconstruction began quickly and by 1547 the principal church of the monastery, the katholikon, had been built and painted with several murals by the Cretan painter Tzortis. A golden iconostasis was added in the 18th century. Around the katholikon are number of chapels including one that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside the monastery walls, a 25 meter high defensive tower was built in 1520. The tower was used periodically for safe keeping of the monastery's library. A dynamic community of monksnow inhabits Dionysiou and has undertaken the job of renovating and redecorating the older buildings.
The well organized monastery library contains many old documents, including 804 codices and more than 5,000 old printed books. Among the holdings are Gospels (Evangels) from the eleventh century as well as chrysobulls (golden bulls) and manuscripts. Among these manuscripts is an illuminated Gospel from the thirteenth century.
The relics of St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople, are housed in a special crypt in the katholikon.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.