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    Voronet

    The Sixtine Chapel of the East

     

    Today's monastery was build on an older wooden church of Daniil Dihastrul, the famous consultant-priest of the greatest Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great which is buried inside the church. It was further expanded to a monastery in 1472, but today's church was build by Stephen the Great between May 26 and September 14, 1488, according to the votive painting over the entrance. The church is dedicated to saint George and is the last one of the 4 build within one single year by the Moldavian ruler. The exterior painting was undertaken during Petru Rares' rule, after 1532. Voronet monastery was included on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List.

     

    On the western side of the church there can be seen the most impressive painting of Voronet: the Last Judgment, painted in the famous, beautiful and profound blue. The traditional windows were eluded and the whole wall was dedicated to this painting. The five registers must be read from top to bottom and represent the theological program. In the highest row, angels gather the skies and zodiac signs, in the middle being represented the Holy Father. Below Him, Jesus is represented between Mother Mary and John the Baptist (the Deesis). They are surrounded by angels and by the twelve apostles, as witness'. In the third and middle register, there is displayed the throne of 'Hetoimasia" (Greek for 'Preparation'). Near it are kneeling Adam and Eve. On the left side are the Faithufl ones, on the right - the Unfaithful, represented as Jews, Turks, Tatars and Armenians. The lower register represents Difference of the Souls. The Devil drags the sin registers while the Angels, led by Archangel Michael, throw Devils and Sinners in the Storm of Fire. On Judgment Day, the Angels sing heavenly songs with traditional Romanian instruments ("bucium"). The Earth and the See, the Graves and the Animals give back the dead. On the left, the Crowd of Holymen enters Paradise, where Mother Mary is waiting for them. The biblical fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hold the souls of the Right ones in their laps.

    The painting represents very impressive how, despite the prescribed religious norms, artists were able to express their freedom in portraits, scenery, clothing and dramatic actions and to present them harmoniously to the people gathered around the church.


    Humor monastery

     

    From the old monastic compound, today only some remains of the defense walls and the impressive 1641 build guarding tower can be seen. The first monastery was build in 1415, not far from today's church, which was build in 1530. During the Habsburgs, the monastery was closed and was reopened only 1991. Already from it's beginning, Humor monastery was an important cultural center of Moldova, best proof being the Bible from 1473 which can be found today in the museum of Putna monastery.

     

    For the first time in Moldavian religious architecture, the monastery has an open porch. The real treasure of Humor church is the exterior painting (with red as predominant color) which was undertaken in 1535 by master Toma of Suceava. Big part of the painting is dedicated (like the church itself) to Mother Mary. The most valuable frescoes can be found on the southern side: the Akathystos Hymn. Very well preserved is also The Fall of Constantinople.


    Arbore Monastery

     

    The highest general of Stephen the Great's armies, Luca Arbore, erected this church in 1502 and dedicated it to John the Baptist. The simple rectangular construction without a tower, received the first open entrance room in Moldova. Though, the interior is very similar to the traditional Moldavian architectural style.

     

    Arbore church is surrounded by a small symbolic wall. In 1538 it was destroyed by the Ottoman armies, which also melted the bells from the southern fašade to cannon balls. In comparison to all other painted monasteries where local masters were at work, Dragos Coman of Iasi who painted this church for decades was a trained artist who studied at well renowned schools of Italy. His figures as well as the colors he used show a significant difference to the other monasteries. Also interesting is the fact that this monastery uses two predominant colors (the other one, like all the other ones). The exterior painting is damaged in a high degree, but the southern fašade impresses by the richness of characters.

     

    Arbore painted church was the first one to be included on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List.


    Moldovita Monastery

     

    The region where today Moldovita monastery is locatedá was inhabited already from the 14th century by hermits. Several monastic settlements, wooden churches(attested already in 1402), monk cells were attested in the region. During time, the settlement developed and a new stone church was build by Petru Rares in 1532. Dedicated to the "Assumption of the Virgin", the church is the resting place of the famous ruler Petru Rares who initiated the exterior paintings on exterior church walls. The construction remembers of Humor church, the only architectural differences being the Moldavian arch and the tower over the Naos, as well as the position of the columns in the first room.

     

    The exterior painting on predominant yellow color offers a very good representation of the Fall of Constantinople and Jesses Tree. From the interior painting we would like to mention the representation of the Virgin and the Infant which is considered to be the most sensitive plastic image of maternity in Romanian medieval painting.

     

    The monastery museum offers numerous artifacts of enormous value, among which the princerly throne of Petru Rares from the 16th century, the "Golden Apple" prize received by this monastery in the '70. Like many of the Moldovian monasteries, Moldovita is also surrounded by imposing high defense walls with housing within. After being closed for almost 100 years, in 1945, the monastery was opened again for nuns and kept practicing even under the communist rule. Today, 38 nuns live inside the compound.


    Sucevita Monastery

     

    Sucevita monastery was build by metropolitan Gheorghe Movila in 1582. His brother became ruler of Moldova and made several donations to the monastery, because of which Sucevita became the richest and most important monastery in the 16th century in Moldova. Unique are the most impressive fortified defense walls: almost 20 feet high and up to 10 feet wide, with interior corridors, towers at the corner and an entrance tower, totalizing a perimeter of about 300x300square feet. On the northern side is the bell tower, where one might still listen monastery was plundered several times in the 16th and 17th century. The Habsburgs allowed the continuity of monastic life and during the 1954 restorations a new roof was constructed, identical to the original.

     

    Sucevita is the last of the impressive monasteries with exterior frescoes from the 16th century and confirms all the details of the Moldavian architectural style. With admirable proportions, the monastery church has an entrance porch with wide arcades, unique for this type of construction, but very common for Wallachian churches.

     

    The interior and exterior paintings were done between 1595 and 1606 by two brothers. In comparison to other Moldavian monasteries, in Sucevita the painters try to tell a story. This marks the last stage of Moldavian church-painting. The big difference to the other monasteries is the representation of Jesses leader on the north fašade as well as the burning bush and the protecting Madonna on the southern side, instead of the traditional Siege on Constantinople.

     

    The monastery museum has besides the ones of Putna and Dragomirna, some of the richest collections on medieval material: printings, writings, books, miniatures, silvery, embroidery, etc.