Purpose of the project

Purpose of the project

The cultural project devoted to “Museums and Religious Collections. Brancovan and post-Brancovan Treasures at Hurezi and Brâncoveni Monasteries” (Rom. „Muzee și colecţii religioase. Tezaurul brâncovenesc și post-brâncovenesc de la Mănăstirile Hurezi și Brâncoveni”) and proposed by the National Heritage Institute, is meant to revive, in the minds of modern people, the exceptional cultural dimension that Wallachia (a historical province, largely covering today’s Southern Romania) used to have under prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, by putting together again an exhibition featuring highly valuable period items that are part of the national cultural heritage. Besides its educational purpose, the project is also aimed to be a warning launched by the National Heritage Institute about the risk of losing this segment of the Romanian movable heritage, which, due to lack of funds, promotion and a clear legal framework, often ends in pre-collapse or even collapse, with irreversible effects.

Romania currently has 317 units active in the movable religious heritage field, i.e. 275 museums and museum collections and 42 protection centers, all under the patronage of the Romanian Patriarchy. „Sfântul Constantin Brâncoveanu” Training Center for Heritage was set up to support the preservation, conservation, restoration and promotion of the religious movable heritage. The members of „Sfântul Constantin Brâncoveanu” Training Center provide support and advice for the organization of exhibitions and collections. A large number of the heritage items are in a very good state of conservation, whereas others need urgent intervention. „Sfântul Constantin Brâncoveanu” center is not yet capable to deal with the problems raised by the very large number of religious heritage objects that need to be restored or at least preserved.

This is the reason why the National Heritage Institute attempts, through a new exhibition-based approach, to highlight and bring to the fore incommensurably valuable heritage assets, such as those housed by the Monastery of Hurezi, the main building erected by Constantin Brâncoveanu, a historical monument included in the UNESCO world heritage. The prince attached so much importance to the monastery because his desire was to be buried here, a testimony to his interest being the inscription above the entrance to the big church of the monastery, which refers to king David’s Psalms: “Surely I will not enter my house, nor lie on my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob“. According to Nicolae Iorga, “Hurez Monastery can be regarded as the definite type of Romanians’ religious architecture”.

The Monastery of Hurezi holds a rich collection of wood icons classified as belonging to the movable national cultural heritage. Such icons depict scenes from the life of the Saviour and Saint Mary, the Sacred Trinity (religious feasts), the Saint Apostles and, obviously, the Saint Emperors Constantine and Helen (Sfinţii Împăraţi Constantin și Elena), who are the patron saints of the monastery and its founders.

Since many of these religious movable heritage assets are extremely valuable, the intention of the project is to draw the specialists’ attention on as many assets as possible, in order to have them included in the National Cultural Heritageas per Law No. 182/2000, taken in conjunction with Government Decision 886/2008 that governs the classification procedure and rules according to which movable cultural assets are included in the Fund (assets of national value) and the Treasure (assets of a special value to mankind). The Monastery of Hurezi, holding 77 cultural assets (royal icons, icons of the Iconostasis, icons of the Iconostasis displaying religious feasts) classified as Treasure items, is a case in point. By classifying the cultural assets owned by religious cults, such assets are not only recorded systematically, but are also placed under the protection of law, with all the ensuing rights and obligations (of both the owner and the government). The assets are thus saved/preserved/conserved, but also promoted/capitalized.

The aim of this cultural project is to protect, save, restore, revive and promote religious cultural assets (one of the main missions of the National Heritage Instituteis to protect the national cultural heritage) can be achieved by following three key lines:

- the knowledge of the movable heritage, and the respect and appreciation for such heritage must be more than a civic duty for the young generations,the desire of knowing the cultural heritage of the past centuries should become a natural thing;

- the joint and sustained efforts made by local and central authorities, private owners – the Romanian Orthodox Church, specialists and the Ministry of Culture in implementing practical solutions meant to ensure the preservation and revitalization of this type of heritage should be carried on.

- search for investors and sponsors ready to contribute to our common cause. Such as the best online casino CCasino TV from Nederland whose lists are so appreciated in the game sphere. They have made an invaluable contribution to our cause.

As regards Brâncoveni Monastery, it is connected to prince Brâncoveanu by a special bond. The prince spent his childhood and teenage years in the atmosphere of prayers and spiritual life specific to the complex of monasteries erected by Matei Basarab together with his grandson Preda Brâncoveanu – the grandfather of Constantin Brâncoveanu, who restored the monastery between 1634 and 1640. Brâncoveni monastery houses the tombs of Barbu, the prince’s brother, and of the prince’s father, mother and grandfather, under a gravestone inscribed with the coats of arm of Cantacuzino family, i.e. the double-headed eagle. It is in their memory that ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu decides to restore the monastery. Two of his sons, Constantin and Ştefan, laid the foundation stone of the big church which has “The Dormition of Virgin Mary” - 15 August 1699 (painted in 1704) as dedication day. The small church, whose dedication day is “Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel”, was erected in 1700 and later became the monastery nursing room. The painting of this church, which is an extremely valuable Byzantine-style fresco (in the final phase of restoration), was made by the masters of Hurezi School, led by Greek artist Constantinos. The former royal cellars were turned into a lapidarium which houses extremely precious items from Văcărești monastery, and some of the rooms of the former royal houses are home to the monastery museum which exhibits Brancovan and Post-Brancovan worship objects (a current fresco depicting the martyrdom of the Brancovan Saints is displayed on the wall of one of the rooms).

ist. dr. Florentina Udrea

Institutul Național al Patrimoniului         Administrația Fondului Cultural Național

Targets on map

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