Căldăruşani Monastery

Căldăruşani Monastery lies 30 km. from Bucharest to the north-east, on the shore of the lake with the same name. The monastic establishment was founded by ruling prince of Wallachia Matei Basarab (1632-1654). The monastery was built on the location on which, in 1638, there had existed a wooden skeet. Initially, there were constructed three sides of the monastic cells and the eastern defense wall of the holy establishment. The fortress was provided with a watch-tower, which now has become the belfry of the monastery. Worthy of note is the fact that the church building was erected in just one hundred days. It was finished on 26th October, 1638. The beautiful church, which was constructed of bricks and of river stones, attracts the attention of the visitors by its uniqueness.

From the point of view of its architecture, it is three-cusped, being in fact a combination of the architectural styles that are characteristic of the architectural pattern of the princely church of the Curtea de Argeş Monastery, as well as of the church of the Dealu Monastery (which is located in the town of Târgovişte). The paintings inside the church were reconditioned over the succeeding centuries, in 1778, 1817 and 1911. Master Belizarie repainted the church in the third decade of the 20th century.

A school for church painters was founded here in 1778. The renowned Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu attended this school within the period 1854-1856. Moreover, in 1825, a painting house was also accommodated within the monastery grounds. Between 1950 and 1958, major extensive repairs and restoration works were initiated by His Beatitude, the Patriarch Justinian and by Father Gherasim Cristea (the abbot of the establishment at the time). Archimandrite Lavrentie Gata set out to rebuild the Abbot's house and added a storey to it; he also supervised the introduction of modern facilities, the central heating system, as well as the construction of several additional outbuildings for monastic domestic uses.

Subsequent to the disastrous earthquake that struck Romania on 4th March, 1977, the church was restored and thoroughly consolidated. The cellar to the right hosts nowadays the Thesaurus, where religious items are kept. The monastery shelters one of the most valuable museum collections of the Patriachy, comprising liturgical objects, sacerdotal attire, icons, old printed books, as well as six icons that were executed by the renowned painter Nicolae Grigorescu. The resident monastic of the Căldăruşani Monastery respect the religious rites of the Holy Mount Athos, performing the divine service of the Seven Lauds round the clock.