Sinaia Monastery- History
Christian-orthodox monks monastery, subordinate to Bucharest Archdiocese, Muntenia and Dobrodja Metropolitan Seat, Romanian Orthodox Church.
The staff is composed of 20 persons, monks and laics.
- Starting with the XV th – XVI th century two small wooden hermitages are attested, St. Anne and St. Nicholas;
- Between 1690 – 1695, the Romanian boyard Mihail Cantacuzino has built the old wing of the monastery, together with the small church, one of the first built in Brancovan style (Romanian style – late XVIIth c.- early XVIIIthc.). He called it ,,Sinaia Monastery” making reference to his pilgrimage at Jerusalem and Mount Sinai;
- Between 1842 – 1846 it was built the new wing of the monastery, along with the large church which was rebuilt between 1897 – 1903; This was the first electrified Romanian church (1906);
- The museum of the monastery, the first in Romania, was inaugurated in 1895. The museum hosts icons painted by the painter Pârvu Mutu, the most famous Romanian church painter, icons from Aleppo – Siria, Moscow, saint crosses from Bethleem, Ioannina and Constantinople; a 1669 Bible, entirely printed in Romanian language;
- The first local school functioned in the chapel of Transfiguration;
- The Take Tonescu’s tomb, Romanian Prime-Minister who died in 1922, is in the old part of the monastery;
- Daily religious service programme: 08:00 – 10:00; 16:00 – 17:00; 18:45-20:30.
- Sunday and religious holidays: Holy Liturgy, 09:00 – 12:00.
It was built by the High Constable Mihail Cantacuzino and painted in fresco technique by the painter Parvu Mutu. The first abbot was Nicodim.
The church burnt in 1788 therefore only few scenes from the nave dome, namely the ones from the votive painting and from the open porch, besides Pantocrator, are kept.
The votive painting is depincting the builder, surrounded by his 18 children (12 of them adopted) , by his first wife Maria and Teodora, the second one and other members of Cantacuzino family, the most important ones being the Voivode Șerban (1678 – 1688) and the High Steward Constantin.
There are also painted three of his relatives from his mother side, rulers of Muntenia: Saint Neagoe Basarab (1512-1521), Radu Şerban (1601-1611) and Constantin Şerban (1654-1658).
The church is a small one because the local community was small and the monastery was isolated. Only after 100 later it was necessary to build a larger church.
It is a very important historic and architectural monument classified in the country’s treasury. The inscription at the entrance, put at the 1795’s restoration, is replacing the original inscription from 1695.
,,Saint Trinity” Church
It was built between 1842-1846 by the abbots Ioasaf and Paisie and rebuilt between 1897- 1903.
The actual painting was made by the Danish artist Aage Exner and the chandeliers are made at Vienna. The furniture is made of gold plated sycamore wood in the nave and oak wood in the narthex. The chairs used by the Romanian Royal Family are also exhibited in the nave.
In the narthex are depicted 5 persons: Mitropolit Primat Iosif Gheorghian, (1886 -1893, 1896-1909), the first King of Romania, Carol the Ist (1866 -1914) standing near a breaked stone column which symbolizes the kingdom of Romania (without Transylvania, Banat and Bukovina); on the other side of the main door is depicted Carol’s wife, Queen Elisabeth (artist and writer known under pen-name Carmen Sylva) with their unique child, princess Maria who died at the age of 4. The last person depicted is Mihail Cantacuzino, the builder of the old wing of the monastery.
The two Russian icons depicting ,,Saint Sergei’’ and ,,Saint Nicholas’’, painted at Moscow, have been received in 1903 by the abbot Nifon at the Christening of the King Ferdinand’ son, prince Nicolae, from the tsar Nicholas the IInd.
The Museum of the Monastery
The building which hosts the museum was built in 1846 by the abbot Paisie. It is 45 m in length and at the beginning it was a guest house.
Between 1871 – 1883 this building was used by the Romanian Royal Family to supervise the workings made at the Peleș Castle.
The museum was open in 1895, the year of the 200th anniversary of the old church. Open under the supervision of the abbot Nifon, it was the first Romanian religious museum, also visited nowadays. The museum exhibits precious items, among them: the Bible printed at Bucharest in 1688, three icons made by the famous Romanian painter Pârvu Mutu (1693), altar crosses dating to XVI-XIX th centuries, the first books of religious music printed in Romanian language.
The great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga wrote about the icon ,,Saint Trinity” painted by Pârvu Mutu : A great painter worked here ant it is necessary that his work, accurately reproduced, to be found in every Romanian house.
The embroideries made by Anna Roth were exhibited at the universal exhibitions organized at the end of the XIXth c, including the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900. Anna Roth won a gold medal for these embroideries.
Take Ionescu’s tomb
Take Ionescu was a Romanian politician, lawyer and journalist; was born in 1858 at Ploieşti, Prahova county and died in 1922. He was Prime-minister, minister of finances, of foreign affaires and minister of education and culture.
The tomb was built in 1923 and painted in frescoe technique by the Romanian painter Costin Petrescu. Around the tomb are engraved fragments from his speeches to the Parliament (1908 – 1916).
Chapel ,, The Transfiguration”
Built in 1695 and painted by Pârvu Mutu in ,,al fresco”, it was used as a winter chapel. The original painting was restored in 1792 because the monastery was burnt and the chapel partially destroyed in 1788, during the russian-austrian-turkish war.
The names of the artists who restored the original painting, writen using Cyrillic letters, are to be seen in the altar, near the northern niche in which the priests prepare the bread and the wine for the Liturgy: Holly priest, don’t forget to mention the names of the painters: deacon Manole, Ioan, Tudorache, Stanciu and Hristea, April 30, 1792.
In the XVII th century in this building functioned a school for monks and since 1882 was for few years a school for the children from Sinaia.