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:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.