St. Panteleimon Monastery is built on the southwest side of the peninsula of Mount Athos. It is often referred to as 'Russian' and does have historical and liturgical ties to the Russian Orthodox Church; nevertheless, like all the other monastic settlements on Mount Athos, the monastery is under the direct ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and all its monks are citizens of Greece, usually naturalized.
The monastery was founded by several monks from Kievan Rus in the 11th century, which is why it is known as 'Rossikon'. It has been inhabited by mainly Russian monks in certain periods of its history. It was recognized as a separate monastery in 1169.
The monastery prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries being lavishly sponsored by the tsars of Moscovy, but it declined dramatically in the 18th century to the point where there were only two Russian and two Bulgarian monks left by 1730.
The construction of the present monastery on a new site, closer to the seashore, was carried out during the first two decades of the 19th century, with the financial help of the ruler of Moldo-Wallachia, Skarlatos Kallimachos. The monastery occupies the nineteenth rank in the hierarchical order of the twenty Athonite monasteries.
In 1913, the monastery was the site of a raging theological argument (Imiaslavie) among Russian monks, which led to tsarist Russian intervention and the deportation of approximately 800 of the monks on the losing side of the debate.
The Monastery of St Panteleimon was repeatedly gutted by fires, most famously in 1307 (when Catalan mercenaries set it aflame) and in 1968.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.