November 18, 2014

1337, 1338 ROMANIA (Bucharest) - Stavropoleos Church

Stavropoleos Monastery, also known as Stavropoleos Church during the last century, when the monastery was dissolved, is an Eastern Orthodox monastery for nuns in central Bucharest. The name is a Romanian rendition of a Greek Stauropolis (The city of the Cross), and the patrons are St. Archangels Michael and Gabriel. It was built in 1724 in Brâncovenesc style, during the reign of Nicolae Mavrocordat (Prince of Wallachia between 1719 and 1730), by archimandrite Ioanichie Stratonikeas, came in from Epirus. Within the precinct of his inn, Ioanichie built the church, and a monastery which was economically sustained with the incomes from the inn (a relatively common situation in those times). The inn and the monastery's annexes were demolished at the end of 19th century. Over time the church suffered from earthquakes, which caused the dome to fall. The dome's paintings were restored at the beginning of the 20th century.

All that remained from the original monastery is the church, alongside a building from the beginning of the 20th century (constructed following the plans of architect Ion Mincu) which shelters a library, a conference room and a collection of old icons and ecclesiastical objects, and parts of wall paintings recovered from churches demolished during the communist regime. The library has over 10,000 Romanian, Greek, and Church Slavonic books of theology, byzantine music, arts and history, more than 80 manuscripts and 400 printed works. The Byzantine music books collection is the largest in Romania, and consists mostly of the donations of two Romanian byzantologists, Sebastian Barbu-Bucur, and Titus Moisescu. The community living here, besides routine worship, is engaged in renovating old books, icons and sacerdotal clothes. The music sung during the offices is neo-Byzantine, based on the works of 19th century Romanian psalmodists, Greek chants translated into Romanian, or modern compositions.

Although small in size, the church has monumentality, being an architectural space specific to Byzantine tradition. Through the carved decoration and through the ornamental motifs it expresses a baroque sensibility but also an oriental taste. But what makes the Stavropoleos Church a culmination of experience of the Wallachian masters of the 18th century is the decoration of facades. It is characterized by a perfect combination of the carved decoration with the polychrome relief in stucco and mural painting. Also the interior painting impresses by the extent and by focusing of the iconographic program.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Common Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis L.), is part of the first series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (I), about which I wrote here.

Stavropoleos Church - Wikipedia
Stavropoleos Church - Official website
Biserica Stavropoleos -
Biserica Stavropoleos (Bucureşti) -
Biserica Stavropoleos -

Sender 1, 2: Mircea Ostoia
Sent from Focşani (Vrancea / Romania), on 22.05.2013

1 comment:

  1. First postcard is nice. This is beautiful place, colorful and lazy time.