Cultural Trip: Moldovan Monasteries

During our training, we were brought on a culture trip to visit three of the monasteries close to Chisinau:

  • Mănăstirea Suruceni or Sfăntul Gheoghe Monastery, Suruceni
  • Mănăstirea Condrita or Sfăntul Nicolae Monastery, Condrița
  • Căpriana Monastery, Căpriana

The predominant religion in Moldova is Christian Orthodox and the establishment of the first Christian communities in the area date back to the third century.  There was a split in the Christian church in the elevent centry at which time the Western Catholic Church, with it’s center in Rome) and the Eastern Orthodox Church, with it’s center in Constantinople (Istanbul).

During the Soviet times many of the churches and monasteries were destroyed while some were turned into warehouses or community buildings like hospitals or performance venues.  In 1992 Moldova began construction and restoration of the churches and monasteries.  The building are filled with beautiful artwork and interesting relics from the past.

For Eastern Orthodox Churches is customary for women to wear skirts or dresses and to cover their heads with a scarf.  We had an enjoyable moment when we arrived at our first stop and the women in the group put on their head scarves. #I Love Scarves and brought 5 with me.

Mănăstirea Suruceni or Sfăntul Gheoghe Monastery, Suruceni

The first was Mănăstirea Suruceni. It was built in 1785 as a monastery. During the Soviet Union era, it appeared to be used as a hospital. In 1992 it became a nunnery. It had the most beautiful flower garden and one of the nuns provided some inspiring words.

Mănăstirea Condrita or Sfăntul Nicolae Monastery, Condrița

The second monastery that we visited was Mănăstirea Condrita, The priest told us the history; however, I was too occupied looking at the art to remember what he said. The frescos inside were amazing, particularly the depictions of angels. There are three churches at this monastery: the newer church that we viewed along with a connecting underground church and the older church that was going through renovations.

Căpriana Monastery, Căpriana

The third monastery and one of the oldest in Moldova was the Capriana Monastery. The first record of this monastery is dated April 25, 1420. At all three monasteries there are two churches. St George’s Cathedral is the larger church that was built in 1908. I had wondered about the man killing the dragon and then learned about St George, the patron saint of Moldova.

The second church is the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. It is the oldest chruch in Moldova and it built some time in the 1420’s.

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