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Zographou Monastery

The Zographou Monastery, dedicated to St. George, is located north of Kastamonitou in the interior of the Mount Athos peninsula. Its origins are shrouded in legend. One such legendary source is the so-called chronicle of Zographou, which has been variously dated by scholars from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Preserved in the Slavic original and in Greek translation, it ascribes the foundation of Zographou to the three Selima brothers, the sons of Justinian I, who allegedly came to Athos from Ohrid in the reign of Leo VI. D. It has been suggests that the monastery was founded by a certain "George the zographos," whose signature appears on the Tragos  of between 970 and 972. He is not characterized, however, as a monk or hegoumenos and may have been a painter, just as the monk and hegoumenos Nicholas who signed the same document was a calligrapher. The monastery definitely existed by the 11th century when it is mentioned in a decision of the council of Mt. Athos of 1049. In an act of 1051 it is titled the monastery "of the great martyr George." The data on the history of Zographou in the 12th century must again be treated with great caution. More is known about Zographou from the 13th century onward, when the monastery was under the control of Bulgarian monks. The praktika of Zographou, from the end of the 13th century to 1320, are precious sources for the agrarian history of the Strymon valley, since they reveal the development of certain estates over a period of 25 years. Bulgarian tsars, esp. Ivan Alexander, favored Zographou, conferred privileges, and urged both Byzantine emperors and Stefan Uroš IV Dušan to make donations to the monastery. The library contains only six Greek manuscript of Byzantine date. 


Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

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