In the capital of the Athonite State, Karyes, stands the historic Timios Prodromos Holy Cell, whose builder (founder) is the master of byzantine icon painting hieromonk Dionysios of Fourna (approx. 1670-1745). Hieromonk Dionysios is the author of the renowned "Painter's Manual" (approx. 1728-1733), a valuable manual and unique reference for over three centuries to those wishing to be initiated into the art of byzantine icon painting.
"Painter's Manual" has been extensively translated into many languages already starting from mid 19th century:
French (1845),German (1855), Russian (1868), Old Slavic (approximately 1875 -1885), English (1886,1974), Romanian (1891), Italian (1971), Bulgarian (1976), Japanese (1999), Serbian (2005).
The first greek edition, based on cod. GR708 of the St Petersburg Public State Library, was published in 1909, edited by A. Papadopoulos-Keramefs, and financed by the russian Imperial Archaeological Society.
Hieromonk Dionysios was taught orthodox tradition by his father, Panayotis Chalkeas, a priest and coppersmith at the village of Fourna, Agrafa. At age 12 Dionysios travelled to Constantinople (Istanbul) and stayed there for 4 years studying the holy scriptures and learning how to paint icons. In 1686, at age 16, he came to Mount Athos, became monk and lived in Karyes where he was acquainted and familiarized with the work of Manouil Panselinos (the church of Protaton, a monument protected by Unesco). By means of his incomes from icon painting, Dionysios renovated his cell thoroughly and built a church in honor of Timios Prodromos (St John the Baptist). The cell and the church with its murals and portable icons, constitute the only remaining complete testimony of his art. There he will later write the "Painter's Manual" with the help of his disciple, Kyrillos of Chios.
The Timios Prodromos Holy Cell serves by organizing artistic activities such as exhibitions, as well as through publications under the name "Ermeneia-Agion Oros".
The Holy Cell has recently republished the "Painter's Manual" in a new, handier format, under the blessing of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.