Turnu Monastery

Turnu Monastery is one of the most sacred Christian monastic dwellings of the Râmnic Diocese. Situated on the opposite bank of the Olt River from Cozia Monastery, sheltered by Cozia Mountain, Turnu Monastery was, for centuries, a very remote and unreachable place. Coming from the South, the only way of access was by taking the cart from Jiblea, and, after reaching Cozia, by sailing across the Olt, then walking along the river. From the North, the only connection was made by the paths going up the mountain and then descending in Loviştea Valley villages.

The name of the monastery comes from a massive tower, located on a rock called Teofil`s Peak, which was built by the Roman legions of the Arutela Roman Camp, in the 2nd century. Its ruins are still there, in the Bivolari Clearing, somewhere lower than the hydro-electric power plant. Turnu Monastery was first called “the convent behind the tower”, then Turnu Convent and finally Turnu Monastery.

History tells us that, in the 15th and 16th century, some monks left Cozia Monastery and lived isolated, in completely poverty, sheltered by caves, shacks and wooden houses; among those hermits,the most renowned were Daniil and Misail, whose caves lasted until today. At the middle of the 16th century, the hermits built a small wooden church, establishing Turnu Convent. In 1676, after being promoted as Bishop of Râmnic, the Father Superior of Cozia Monastery, Varlaam, gives very special attention and care to the hermits in Turnu. Becoming Metropolitan of Wallachia, he builds another church, made of stone and brick, located on the grounds of the former wooden chapel. Here he sheltered the relics of Daniil and Misail and since that time, Turnu Convent became a settled monastic place, protected by Cozia Monastery. Between 1893 and 1901, Gherasim Timus, Bishop of Argeş, decided to build a summer residence at Turnu. The old church was destroyed by fire in 1932 - 5 groups of houses with 26 rooms, 2 sheds, the old refectory, the belfry, the dome of the small church, the altar screen with all the icons - only Gherasim Timus's house and the velley cells escaping.

The Bishop Nichita Duma build a new church, a square-shaped, storeyed building. having prayer precincts at the ground floor and at the first floor. It has a central cupola, with access on the exterior stairs, which have been recently built on the southern facade. A school of church singers had been functioning here by the year 1939, and between 1959-1975 the Turnu Monastery was closed and transformed, in resting house for the Râmnic and Argeş Diocese. Between 1994 and 1996 the western wing of the building has been restored and the ground-floor refectory became a bigger church, appropriate for the many believers coming to the monastery. The 25 monks living here live a very austere life and they never eat meat.