The Holy Monastery of Zographou (or Zograf) is located on the southwestern side of the Athos Peninsula in northern Greece. The monastery is dedicated to St. George. According to tradition, the monastery was founded during the 10th century by three Bulgarian brothers, the monks Moses, Aaron, and John from Ohrid. While the monastery initially was inhabited by Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbian monks, since 1845 the monks are only Bulgarians. Zographou is ranked ninth in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the Mount Athos peninsula.
The earliest record of the Zographou is from 980. During its early years the monastery was well supported by Bulgarian rulers, especially Ivan Asen II and Ivan Alexander. Zographou also received land endowments from the Byzantine emperors and Serbian and Romanian rulers.
As were many of the Athonite monasteries at the time Zographou suffered from raids by the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea, especially during the 13th century when the peninsula was ruled by Frankish forces after they had conquered Constantinople in 1204. In 1275, Catalan pirates made a major raid for plunder on the monastery, a raid in which 26 monks were killed and the monastery burnt down. Reconstruction of the buildings started later in the century, aided financially by Emperor Adronicus II Palaeologus.
Further major construction in the monastery began in the 16th century, with many of the existing buildings dating from the middle of the 18th century. The south and east wings were built in 1750 and 1758 respectively. A small church was built in 1764 and a larger one in 1801. The north and west wings were built in late 19th century and with the construction of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church and bell tower major construction was completed in 1896.
At present all monks in the monastery are Bulgarian, and all services are in Church Slavonic.
The collection in the monastery library preserves a significant presentation of Bulgarian culture. It contains manuscripts from the 14th and 15th centuries, including copies of the passionals of Naum of Ohrid and St. Petka. Additionally, the library contains 388 manuscripts in Slavic and 126 in Greek, as well as some 10,000 printed books.
The monastery also has two miraculous icons of St. George as well as icons of the Virgin of Akathistos and the Virgin Epakouousa. In addition, the monastery has other heirlooms and ecclesiastical vessels.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.