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Places to Visit Details

Râmeţ, Romania

Râmeț Monastery is one of the oldest and most renowned worship places in Romania. It is located in Alba County, Transylvania, in Trascău Mountains (Western Carpathians).

It seems that the monastery was founded by two monks, father Ghenadie and father Romulus, in 1214. The great scholar Nicolae Iorga showed that the name "Râmeț" is derived from "eremite" (lonely monk). The painting of the old church is a real chronicle of its history: the first layer is from 1300, and the second layer from 1310. The third layer, on which a text that dates back to 1377 can be deciphered, was laid on the surface of the arch that is situated between the nave and the pronaos; the fourth layer dates from 1450, the fifth layer from 1600, the sixth layer from 1741, and the seventh layer from 1809. The church was painted again by Grigore Popescu between 1987 and 1988.

Since 1506, the monastery was protected by the ruling prince of Wallachia, Radu the Great. During the reign of Michael the Brave, it was restored by princely craftsmen an painters, as Petre the Armenian, Mina, and Nicolae from Crete. The holy establishment was abandoned for one hundred years. On 20th August 1762, the monastery was destroyed by cannons on the orders of General Bukow, because it was one of the most celebrated Orthodox places of worship, as well as one of the most powerful centers of Orthodox spirituality in Transylvania. The monastery ran a school that was also devasted in 1762. During the following years, Râmeţ Monastery underwent extensive repairs and restoration works. Nevertheless, it was again destroyed by the Austrian imperial army on December 23, 1785.

In 1826, the monastery was transformed into a parish church and in 1932 it became a monastery all over again. The newly acquired monastic status was owed to the persevering efforts of a monk, father Evloghie Ota. In 1955, it was transformed into a female monastic community, but in 1960, it was closed down and turned into a touring chalet. In 1982, the monastery received once again official approval from the local state authorities to resume the religious activities that are regularly carried out in a monastic establishment; yet, the outbuildings designed for monastic domestic uses were still occupied by lay lodgers. In order to regain possession of these outbuildings, father confessor Dometie Manolache, Mother Superior Ierusalima Ghibu and the dedicated monastic residents set about constructing a touring chalet outside the monastery grounds. In 1969 the monastery set up a museum to exhibit icons on wood, icons on glass, old books, and an important numismatic collection. The personalities relating to the existence of the museum include Nicolae Iorga, Vasile Drăguț, and Virgil Vătășianu.

The need for the believers required the building of a new and larger church. The architecture of this church represents a synthesis of the Moldavian and Wallachian architectural styles. Its construction began in 1982 and was finished ten years later, when the church was consecrated on June 29, 1992, and dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and PaulSaint Ghelasie of Râmeţ was father superior of the monastery and the archbishop of Transylvania in the second half of the 14th century and was canonized the same day. The monastery houses some 95 nuns and sisters who pray and work according to the holy canons of the Orthodox monasteries.

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