The Monastery of Dionysiou
The monastery is built on the peninsula’s south-western side and is dedicated to St John the Baptist. It was founded in the fourteenth century by Saint Dionysios of Korseos, a village near Kastoria. In 1535 the monastery had been destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and from then onwards its architecture and buildings remain unaltered.
It occupies the fifth rank in the hierarchical order of the twenty Athonite monasteries. It is inhabited by 59 monks (1990) and is coenobitic (communal).
The katholikon of the monastery is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was built during 1537–1547 and its walls were painted during the same period. The church is cross-shaped, with a dome and surrounded by apses. The wall murals were painted by the Cretan Artist Tzortzis.
Within the Katholikon, to the left of eso-narthex, there is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Alkathistos. Aside from the katholikon, the church also has many chapels. Other chapels within the monastery are dedicated to Saint Niphon, to Saint Nicolas, to Saint George, to the Saints Kosmas and Damian, to the Archangels, to Saint John the Theologian and to the Saint John the Chrysostom.
The courtyard is limited, so there is no phiale for the blessing of the waters. He refectory has been built into the southwest wing of the monastery and it was frescoed by the panters Daniel and Mercurios, influenced by the Cretan school.
The monastery’s treasury is very rich in relics from various eras and also houses many chrysobulls, siggilia, etc. The bones of St Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople, are displayed in a special crypt in the katholikon.
The library is richly stocked and well-organised. It contains some 804 manuscript codices, theological, ecclesiastical or liturgical works. One manuscript is an illuminated thirteenth-century Gospel Book.