The trip from Sucevița to Mănăstirea Humorului was a true adventure. I searched for our destination on Google maps mobile application because „Google knows best”, right? This time it found a route that in the end proved to be the shortest way but for half an hour we wandered off the right path and we kinda lost hope that we will soon fiind the asphalt concrete road. As soon as we arrived in the village we started to wonder if turning back on the same „road” would be the right choice. We didn’t finish the debate, instead we turned around our heads only to see a big sign that announced a „DEAD END”. In that very moment we were truly happy for arriving there.
Mănăstirea Humorului proved to be a quiet village. I had the chance to take some photos of some of the local elements with my camera, a traditional moldavian household ensemble was exposed right on the way to the Monastery. I visited the booths again and purchased some more fridge magnets. My embroidered romanian blouse was very much admired.
Humor Monastery had a tormented history but by finding what I found here, I would say that it passed the test of time. It is located in Mănăstirea Humorului village, on the Humor river valley and it is, like the others monasteries with external painting, on UNESCO list. This one also had two built churces during the time. The old one, that was built in the time of Alexandru cel Bun’s reign (1415), ended up a ruin for unknown causes. The second church was built on another site, in 1530, at the initiative of Petru Rareș who wanted to restore all these orthodox sanctuaries in Moldova, and in 1535 it was painted.
It received the patron name „Assumption of the Virgin Mary”. In 1641, Vasile Lupu ordered the building of a defense tower, also strengthening at the same time the defensive wall because there were many enemy attacks in those times. In 1653 Humor was robbed and burned by the Cossaks and the Austrian occupation in 1744 turned the monastery into a simple settlement. In 1785 it became school, in 1850 it was used as a storehouse and in 1918 it became Parish church. Only in 1991, after the renovation that lasted between 1972 and 1974, it was restored as nunnery (when it was first founded it was a friary) and in 1993 was added on UNESCO list.
It is the first Monastery with the church having an open porch and then you can enter in the narthex, then in burial chamber, with another chamber built right upon it, a vault and it’s ending with circular apse of the altar. Both interior and exterior paintings have undeniable value. The specific color of this Monastery is red-ochre.
At the very moment when we finished our visiting tour and the rain stopped, it began to beat the chop. In the Christian tradition beating the chop announces the moment for the prayer. We listened a few minutes and then we headed to our next destination for that day.
I’ve found Voroneț, after seven years, as a lively and brighter place. I also felt a little more serene. I could finally meditate in its garden.
Voroneț Monastery was built in 1488, the construction lasted from May 26th until Sptember 14th. In this geographical area, Ștefan cel Mare (Stefan the Greatest), decided to build this sanctuary with the advice of a hermit, named Daniil, and he decided its patron saint to be “Sfântul Gheorghe” (St. George). In 1547, during Petru Rareș’s reign, the porch was added, similar to those found on the other monasteries erected during that historical time, but here it was closed (like I said, the other ones have an open porch).
From the architectural point of view, it’s a traditional moldavian church with gothic and byzantine influences.
The paintings complement on the visual level the writing Christian culture. The exterior painting is pretty well preserved, on the North façade being more degraded. Here, the dominant color is blue (the famos “blue of Voroneț”).
If you go round the church, you will see on the outside, right above the entrance, on the South façade, the sacred image of “Deisis”. In this one is portrayed Iisus Hristos (Jesus Christ) on the throne and the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist are praying for our redemption. Also on the South façade, on a deep blue background, it can be found “The tree of Jeese”, that it is found on the other Monasteries as well. Again, on this façade we can see “Heavenly and earthly hierarchy”. On the entire West façade you can see the composition “Last Judgement”. It is probably the most spectacular part of the church.
These frescoes, unique in the world, have been the subject of many studies. I invite you to discover them in every season of the year.
[read first part here]
[read second part here]