Humor Monastery, Romania
Situated in a valley 50 km north of Gura Humorului, Humor church was built in 1530 by Petru Rares and his High Chancellor Teodor Bubuiog, on the site of a monastic complex built before 1415. The church, consecrated to the Assumption of the Virgin, is smaller than other churches of the painted monasteries and does not have any cupolas. Otherwise, it preserves the same traditional three-cusped plan proper to most other painted monasteries. The belfry with a belvedere was erected in 1641, under Vasile Lupu's rule.
The small church, with a wide open porch arched on three sides, has a vault which is similar to the one at Moldovita except that the one at Humor seems to be floating, a sample of Byzantine art highly appreciated by architect experts.
The open porch is separated from the nave by three columns connected through broken arches which have crossed vaults. The windows frames are Gothic.
The tombstone of Teodor Bubuiog is situated under his portrait and that of his wife’s.
Humor Monastery was among the first churches to be painted. Its frescoes are due to Toma of Suceava and were performed in 1535. If at Voronet blue is predominant, Humor is mainly painted in reddish brown (from oriental madder pigment), completed nevertheless by rich blues and greens.
The Last Judgement, placed on the wall beneath the unusual open porch, is similar to the Voronet one, but, unfortunately, the Tree of Jesse has been effaced by erosion. Another famous exterior painting, Hymn to the Virgin, has been inspired by the poem written by Patriarch Serghei of Constantinople, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have saved the city during the attack of the Persians in 626. Persians have turned into Turks in an endeavour to update the Moldavians’ opposition to the Ottoman Empire. The Siege of Constantinople, displayed on a large surface, in a central position, also suggests Moldavians’ wish to defeat their enemies, the Turks. In the narthex, a mural painting displays Petru Rares and his family; the prince is also buried within the church together with his wife, Anastasia.
The princely throne in the church bears Moldavia's coat of arms.
Humor Monastery held for many years the valuable 'Humor Evangelistry', a book dating back to 1473, painted by monk Nicodim and displaying a famous portrait of Stephen the Great. The monastery houses a valuable collection of icons dating back to the 16th century.
The monastery, which is a nunnery, was suppressed in 1786, and re-established only in 1990. It underwent several restoration works, in 1868, 1888, 1960-1961, 1967-1970, and 1971-1972, when the paintings were washed.
To see some of the monastery frescoes, click here.