AGAPIA Monastery - Agapia commune, Neamt county

AGAPIA  Monastery

Agapia commune, Neamt county. Convent for nuns.
Dedication day: “The Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel”, 8 November.

The name of the monastery comes from a monk whose name was Agapie who founded a wooden church long time ago. It was named “Old Agapia Monastery” or “The Agapia of the Hills Monastery”.
Elena Doamna, the wife of Petru Rares Voivode, decided to build a stone church in 1527 at this location. The church underwent renovation during the reign of Petru Schiopu Voivode at the end of the 16th century. Unfortunately, within a short time it collapsed because of the sloping ground.
As a consequence, it had to be re-founded by Gheorghe Duca Voivode, but it was afterwards destroyed by the Haeteria militants in 1821. In 1832, Mother Sevastia Munteanu founded a new wooden church on the premises, but it burned down in 1934. The church which exists now at Old Agapia was constructed of stone and wood and was erected before the 1939.
The “Agapia of the Valley”, the main Agapia monastery, was founded by the high-ranking official Gavriil, who was the minister of war at the princely court, and by his wife, Liliana – who, according to the votive inscription, “built and endowed this Agapia Monastery again during the reign of the faithful and Christ-loving Vasile Lupu Voivode” (Gavriil’s broter). The construction commenced on 16th, October 7150, was continued on 3rd, September 7152, and completed on 12th, September 7155”, (corresponding years: 1642, 1644, and 1647).
The Saint Hierarch Spyridon - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Saint Evangelist John - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Saint Hierarch Vlasius - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Saint Martyr Theodore - painted by N. Grigorescu
The inner painting realized by Nicolae Grigorescu when he was only 20 years old confers to the Agapia Monastery a particular value. He painted here between 1858 and 1862. Its special beauty is given by the synthesis among the Byzantine tradition, the neoclassical style and particular elements of the Romanian art.
In the period when the main restoration works were taking place at Agapia under the guidance of the abbess Tavefta Ursache, Grigorescu was found in Neamt Monastery painting icons. One of these icons reached in the hands of the Agapia's abbess, who proposed the painter to paint the interior of the "Saints Archangels" Church. This icon of Holy Virgin is exposed in the second room of the monastery museum.
Nicolae Grigorescu was captivated to painting icons. He sad: “For me the Saints were alive, I believed that they are looking me and I was waiting that they start to talk, to move and to bless me”. The painter used as models for his saint’s portraitures the priests and nuns from the monastery and villagers and children from the Agapia village.
The Sainte Pious Elisabeta - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Sainte Pious Epraxia - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Sainte Pious Olimpiada - painted by N. Grigorescu     The Sainte Martyr Tecla - painted by N. Grigorescu
In the succeeding two centuries, the monastic establishment was restored several times: in 1882, between 1848 and 1858 (when the church underwent several notable modifications), in 1903 (when the monastery grounds were renewed and then a few outbuildings designed for workshop uses were erected), and in 1968. In 1968 the monastery was provided with modern conveniences, such as central heating, electricity and running water, which were introduced through the persevering efforts of Metropolitan Iustin Moisescu.
The museum housed within the monastery shelters a valuable art collection as well as a precious collection of liturgical objects. It also shelters the deposit of old book of the County of Neamt and the “Alexandru Vlahuta Memorial House”. The library of the monastery incorporates fifty thousand volumes.
Attracted by the beauty of the landscape and the surrounding sights, as well as by the peacefulness of the spiritual life of the holy establishment, many writes and cultural personalities visited this monastery particularly in the summertime. It was here that they could rest and work in peace, far from the maddening crowd. Among them, we can enumerate the following writers: Alexandru Vlahuta (whose sister was a resident monastic here), George Cosbuc, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and his daughter Iulia Hasdeu, Ion Luca Caragiale, Calistrat Hogas, Barbu Stefanescu-Delavrancea, George Toparceanu, Duiliu Zamfirescu, Gala Galaction, Garabet Ibraileanu, Ionel Teodoreanu, Emilia Gavrilescu (whose pen-name was Otilia Cazimir), and many others.
Within the monastery has built the “Venerable Mother Parascheva Teological" seminary, which trains not only monastic residents but also lay student as well.
The Old Agapia Skete is affiliated to the monastery. The monastic residents who live and serve on the premises forbear to eating meat and meat product. Into this holy place the visitors are not allowed after sundown.

Category: Monasteries of NEAMT
Added: Aug 30, 2010
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