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Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania

Celebration: The Ascension of the Lord
Address: 4 Manastirii Street, Iasi, Romania

The Galata Monastery, a witness of many centuries of Orthodox history and spirituality, guards the city of Iasi like a fiery prayer of the right faith and like a remarkable monument of Romanian culture.

Its founder, Prince Petru Schiopul (the Lame) gives its name after the quarter in Constantinople where the Moldavian Princes used to reside when they went to the Porte to receive their reign confirmation.

Before building this monastery, Petru Schiopul had built another one, "Galata in the Valley", probably finished in 1579, which collapsed shortly after its completion due to its setting on inadequate ground.

The only building of the Galata Monastery preserved in its original form is the church of the "Resurrection of the Lord", consecrated in 1584.

Surrounded by a strong wall with an imposing bell tower, the church of the Galata Monastery is an exceptional architectural achievement, novel for that period, a fruit of the synthesis between dominating Moldavian traditional elements and the influences of a Byzantine-Muntenia origin. Thus certain architectural elements, unprecedented in Moldavia until then, are characteristic to this church: the replacement of the wall between pronaos and naos with three arches sustained by pillars, the appearance of a second tower above the pronaos, the medial band separating the fašade into two equal parts, the illumination of the apses through three windows etc. The church of the Galata Monastery served then as a model for the Aroneanu church (1594), the church of the Dragomirna Monastery (1608-1609) and the church of the Trei Ierarhi Monastery (1639).

The original painting of the church has not been preserved, being destroyed together with the iconostasis and other ecclesiastical implements by the fire of 1762. Only a few fragments of fresco have remained, the most important of them being the votive painting.

Paul of Alep admires the fresco painting, paying special attention to the portraits of Petru Schiopul, of his wife and of his daughter. The princely throne was gilded and had above it a cross cupola and the two-headed eagle. The Holy Table was covered by a wooden canopy supported by narrow columns decorated with lily flowers, leaves and other gilded sculptures. Candles were burning before the altar.

The Antioch pilgrim mentions the four gilded wood-carved candlesticks and the pews in the apses.

The fresco fragments discovered on the occasion of the church restoration have proved that when the church was repainted in the XIXth century, the painters attempted to copy the original painting, but did not succeed in equalling its quality. The situation is similar regarding the painting in the "St. Apostle James" chapel, founded by Petru Schiopul in the princely house built near the church. The way in which this chapel was built, so that the Prince may listen to the holy services from the audience room, proves once more the faith of the founder of the Galata Monastery. Having undergone restoration, the chapel still is today a place of prayer for the pilgrims.

At the same time with the foundation of the church of the "Ascension of the Lord", Petru Schiopul also built the princely house where he used to retire often. This house subsequently underwent various architectural modifications (for instance, in the XVIIIth century another floor was added). What has been preserved from the old building is the structure of the ground floor and the cellar. The princely house has been restored and shelters today, beside the chapel of "St. Apostle James", the monastery's museum where items of a rare beauty and artistic value may be admired. Here the pilgrim may also admire the famous "Galata red" in a fragment from the old fresco. In this building there still is the bell that Petru Schiopul gave to the church "Galata in the Valley".

The church of the Galata monastery originally had exterior frescos that were deteriorated in time. Over the years, chores mingled with prayers. In the second half of the XVIIth century, a very talented monk named Gherasim lived at Galata - he manufactured , among other things, different vestments and icon embroideries ordered by the founders of a few monasteries in Wallachia.

In 1865, a school of sericulture functioned here, led by M. Viltimescu.

The restoration works of the 70s have revealed princely tombs (Despina and Vlad, two children of Petru Schiopu and Maria Amirali, the prince's wife).

The restoration gave unity to the monastic ensemble. Thus, the massivity of the church is compensated by the narrowness of the towers, by the cubic stability of the palace and by the verticality of the belfry tower.


Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (1) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (2) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (3) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (4) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (5)
Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (6) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (7) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (8) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (9) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (10)
Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (11) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (12) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (13) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (14) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (15)
Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (16) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (17) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (18) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (19) Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (20)


Inside the Church of the Monastery


Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (1) ... Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (2) ... Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (3) ... Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (4) ... Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (5) ...
Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (6) ... Inside the Church of the Galata Monastery, Iasi, Romania (7) ...





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