marți, 13 ianuarie 2009

The Golia Monastery

An old foundation of Ioan Golia (the XVIth century) the church of the "Ascension of the Lord" was rebuilt on a greater scale by Prince Vasile Lupu between 1650 and 1653 and completed by his son Stefanita. "Brilliant and richly arrayed" the church appears as a monumental construction which entwines, as the Tsar Peter the Great who visited it in 1711 put it "three kinds of crafts: the Iasi craft, the Greek craft and the Russian craft".

The exterior betrays the influence of the late Renaissance through Galitia: a classical edifice, made of polished stone blocks, guarded by Corinthian pilasters (with Acanthus capitals) and a baroque cornice sustained by consoles. The roof consists of an assemblage of towers, turrets and domes disposed in a line and sustained by superposed arches (kokoshniki). Having an octagonal base, the turrets present ornamental innovations, with Muntenia decorations and oriental motifs which rather reflect a "Tsarigrad profoundness".

The Moldavian traditional interior contrasts with the classical facades, copying the structure of "Trei Ierarhi", but with the lateral apses "sunk" in the wall, with a choir balcony in the vestibule - unique in the XVIIth century Moldavia - and with rich oriental frames around the two church doors.
The Golia Monastery, "a great wonder and a jewel of the city of Iasi", dedicated to the Vatopedu Monastery in Mount Athos, was administered mostly by Greek superiors. Among them two Metropolitans: Gerasimos of Sevastia, mentioned in 1761, his rank coming immediately after that of the Metropolitan of the country, and Gregorios of Irinopoleos in the XIXth century. After the burning of the princely courts in 1786 it even became a metropolitan residence and Prince Gavriil Calimachi moved here for the last years of his life.

A witness to major events of that epoch, among which the bringing of Prince Potemkin's body in 1791, whose viscera were buried in the church, or the burial of the first native ruler after the Phanar princes, Ioan Sandu Sturdza in 1842, the Golia church is mostly known as a church of weddings. This tradition was established in the XVIIth, when the Patriarch of Tsarigrad, James celebrated here the princely wedding services of Constantin Duca and Maria Brâncoveanu in 1693 and of Antioch Cantemir and Catrina in 1696.

Gone to ruin after the secularisation (1863), the monastery was closed between 1900-1947, subsequently becoming a parish church until 1992, when it eventually became a missionary monastery again.

Of course, the celebration day of the Holy Trinity is now the third consecration of this monastery.

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