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:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.