Photographer's Note

Cernica Monastery, ancient center of prayer and culture, was build, according to what Radu Voda Serban stated in his 1608 acts, by order of the Governor Cernica Stirbei. In that year, the Governor Cernica decided to have the old monastery refurbished, surrounding it with fields, forests and villages and giving it his name in memory of his family.

Set in a quaint site near Bucharest, the monastery rises in the middle of a lake, surrounded by secular forests, attracting those who love nature as well as the worshippers. Two imposing churches, some chapels dedicated to the most famous saints, and a book and religious art museum, survived the many periods to form the holy patrimony of the monastery. The cell complex that houses the 84 monks living in the monastery is practically just a great fortress, built in the architectural style that is typical of the plains. In fact it is quite low, so that it is not very easily spotted, yet rather massive to provide protection to the inhabitants.

The historical moment, second in importance to the one of 1608, was built in 1781, year in which the Archimandrite Gheorghe, one of the followers of Saint Paisie of Neamt, was nominated Father Superior. To him do due the reconstruction of the monks war and plague dissolve community, as is the alteration of the church and the first monastery life in this site. The new St. Nicholas of Ostrov church was built in 1815 on the ruins of the old one, being decorated with frescos by Master Fotache, one of the last mediaeval masters of painting.

Between 1818 and 1850, Saint Calinic from Cernica, the most representative figure of the religious world of the time, was nominated Father Superior. Founder of monasteries, churches, hospitals and orphanages, he was also responsible for the construction of the most important building of the Cernica Monastery. He had, with relentless zeal, the fortress and St. Gheorghe church built. The Abbey and most of the houses on the island bear his name. Lover of culture, he set the foundations for a rich library, and opened a religious painting school. He was declared saint in 1955, one the worse years for Christian faith in Rumania, because of persecution communists.

Several important men of faith, monks, bishops and archbishops lived, during different periods, in the monastery. The bishops and archbishops of Basarabia and Bucovina, exiled from their territory after annexation to Russia, were also its guests.

A very important institution has been the Seminary, as it formed many remarkable representatives of the Church. Among them is Father Teoctist, Patriarch of Rumania, who studied for eight years in this school. At the time of the 2nd World War, the Seminary and monastery typography was shut down.

Now, with the blessing of the Holy Father and without danger of atheist regime’s persecutions, the monastery become a place where young people who want to follow the way of Christ can find nurturing for their souls. Also they can become, according to their individual inclination, typographers, professors or craftsmen, while living a life of prayer.

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