Monastery of Zografou (Zograf)

The St George the Zograf or Zograf Monastery (Bulgarian: Зографски манастир, Zografski manastir; Greek: Μονή Ζωγράφου) is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was legendarily founded in the late 9th or early 10th century by three Bulgarians from Ohrid and is regarded as the historical Bulgarian monastery on Mount Athos, as it is traditionally inhabited by Bulgarian monks.

The monastery's name is derived from a 13th or 14th century icon of St George that is legendary because it is thought not to have been painted by a human hand and to possess wonder-working powers.


The earliest written evidence of the monastery's existence dates from 980.

During the Middle Ages, the monastery was generously supported by the Bulgarian rulers, such as Ivan Asen II and Ivan Alexander, since it was a matter of pride for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to maintain a monastery on Athos. The Zograf Monastery has also received land endowments by Byzantine Emperors (the first donor being Leo VI), Serbian and Romanian rulers.

The Zograf Monastery was plundered and burnt down by a Catalan pirate raid in 1275 that led to the death of 26 monks. The buildings were reconstructed in the late 13th century with the financial aid of Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus.

The monastery exists in its modern appearance since the 16th century, while its present-day buildings date from the middle 18th century. The south wing was built in 1750, the east in 1758, the small church was erected in 1764 and the large in 1801. The north and west wing are from the second half of the 19th century and large-scale construction ended in 1896 with the Saints Cyril and Methodius Church and the raising of the bell tower.


The Zograf Monastery owns a library with major significance to Bulgarian culture, preserving mediaeval manuscripts such as a 15th century copy of the passional of Naum of Ohrid, the 14th-century passional of Saint Petka, the original rough copy of Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya and the History of Zograf. The monasterial library houses 388 manuscripts in Slavic and 126 in Greek, as well as about 10,000 printed books altogether.

View from the bell tower

The anchorage of Zograf Monastery

The inner court

A page from the Zograf Kodex with text of the Gospel according to St Luke XIV, 19-24. A photography from the book J.Kurz: Učebnice jazyka staroslověnského (=The textbook of the Old Church Slavonic Language). Praha (=Prague) 1969. Text was written at the end of 10th or in beginning of 11th century in Georg Zograph's monastery in mount Athos in Greece.

The president of Bulgaria visits the Monastery of Zografou

Ivan Asen II, Tsar of Bulgaria (1218-1241). Portrait from the Zograf Monastery on Mount Athos, 1817.


Mount Athos Monastery of

Megistis Lavras · Vatopediou · Iviron · Hilandariou  · Agiou Dionysiou 

· Koutloumousiou · Pantokratora · Xiropotamou  · Zografou · Dochiariou 

Karakalou · Philotheou  · Simonos Petra · Agiou Pavlou (St. Paul) · Stavronikita 

· Xenofontos · Grigoriou  · Esphigmenou  · Panteleimona (Rossikon) · Konstamoniti

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