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:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.