DURAU Monastery - Ceahlau commune, Neamt county

DURAU  Monastery

Ceahlau commune, Neamt county. Convent for nuns.
Dedication day: “Feat of the Annunciation”, 25 March.

For several centuries there have been hermitages and caves around Ceahlau Mountain where hermits lived in solitude and prayer. Some of these have been destroyed by fire and avalanches. However, the hermitage and monks at Durau survived. This monastery is located five kilometers away from Duruitoarea Waterfall, after which it was named. There has been a hermitage at the foot of Ceahlau mountains since 1600. It was led by the nun Mariana who was the daughter of a Moldavian ruler and niece of Prince Vasile Lupu.
The first written entry about Durau was in 1779 when the mother superior was the nun Nazaria. Later, the nuns from Durau withdrew to a clearing at Varatec and founded a monastery with the same name. In 1802, Petru the monk founded a monastery at Durau, bringing monks from the surrounding hermitages.
The present church was built between 1832-1835, on the same place as the old wooden church, by monks from Neamt and Secu monasteries. They were helped by the hermit Safta Brancoveanu and three traders from Piatra Neamt.
The church was consecrated by Metropolitan Veniamin Costachi and given the name "Annunciation". In 1835 the veranda was covered in oil-paintings by the monks Macarie, Pimen and Ghervasie. Between 1935-1937, the rest of the church was painted by Nicolae Tonitza and his apprentices, using the encaustic technique.
The iconostasis, carved in lime wood and overlaid with gold, was painted in Constantinople, in 1835. The Mother of God silver icon dates from the 18th century.
The steeple at the entrance was built in 1835 and houses the Transfiguration Chapel, painted in 1938 by a monk named Varahil Moraru. Among the ancient buildings around the church, the House Veniamin Costachi and the ancient wood steeple are particularly significant.
Since 1959, Durau Monastery functioned as a parish church, then as a hermitage for monks and, since 1991, it became again a monastery for nuns.
The Church of Saint Sofia, built on the place of the former cemetery of the monastery, was demolished in 1977, together with other monastic houses from the surrounding area, on the order of the communist authorities.
The Cultural Pastoral Centre "St. Daniil the Hermit" was founded in 1991 as part of Durau Monastery, with the blessing and assistance of His Eminence Daniel, the Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bucovina. It is a place for promoting Orthodox Spirituality and international dialogue.
Within the Centre there is a chapel painted by the Archimandrite Vartolomeu Florea. The Centre was consecrated by His Sanctity Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, along with other priests, on 30 October 1995, in the presence of numerous members of the clergy and other believers.
Preserver of the ancient monastic tradition in the Ceahlau area, the Durau Monastery offers pilgrims opportunity for prayer and solitary religious meditation.

Category: Monasteries of NEAMT
Added: Aug 30, 2010
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