Stavropoleos Monastery (Manastirea Stavropoleos)

Virtual tour, map & gallery

 

Built by Greek monk Ioannikos Stratonikeas in 1724, Stavropoleos Church is one of the most beautiful orthodox churches from Bucharest, a marvelous achievement of ecclesiastical brâncovenian architecture. The name of the church (Stavropoleos) comes from the Greek name of Stauropolis (The City of the Cross). Initially Ioannikos had built an inn and later he had built the church which was financed by the inn, a common practice in that period. Ioannikos had settled, poor and humble, in the Greek quarter around 1700, in order to raise donations for the endowment of Pogoniana Monastery’s Archbishopric, whose metoc (subsidiary monastery) was Ghiorma Banu’s church. Ioanikie soon became a confessor here, befriending the parishioners, from which he had the skill to gather enough gold to buy a piece of land from Lady Despa, completed with another one owned by Grigorie Greceanu. On the newly acquired piece of land he decided to build an inn (which he achieved during 1722-1724) and inside the compound he erected a church completed in the summer of 1729 which he dedicated to the Monastery of Goura in Epir. It was a monastery for monks which later Phanariote rulers endowed with rich donations.
 
Combining Baroque and Oriental styles the church porch has columns and vegetal decorations and floral bands. The mural decorations from the interior of the church are well preserved and depicts various religious thematic. In the nave the Angelic Liturgy is depicted. On the west wall of the church near entrance are the portraits of the founders: Archimandrite Ioannikos and his brothers and Prince Nicolae Mavrocordat with his family.
 
From the original ensemble that included the monastery and the inn buildings only the church was preserved.  Next to the church on the premises of the old inn was built a chiostro, a courtyard where the columns, slabs and tombstones of the old monastery are exposed in a Lapidarium. Shattered by earthquakes, consumed by fires the inn ended up in ruins and finally disappeared towards 1871. According to an official report dated 1888 the monastery’s church was also in bad condition facing “almost complete dismantling”. The restoration works started only in 1904 under the supervision of talented Romanian architect Ion Mincu who built according to the church’s style the intricately decorated buildings that frame the inner courtyard as we can still admire today. Along the open corridors encompassing the central stone-paved square a lapidarium was organized to exhibit various stone carvings such as tombstones, crosses and even fragments of the old stone consoles of the Colţea tower (today disappeared). Today the compound regained its original destination and functions as a nunnery.

Construita de calugarul grec Ioannikos Stratonikeas in 1724, Biserica Stavropoleos este una din cele mai frumoase biserici ortodoxe din Bucuresti, o realizare de exceptie a arhitecturii religioase brâncovenesti. Numele bisericii (Stavropoleos) provine de la numele grecesc Stauropolis (Orasul Crucii). Initial Ioannikos a construit un han iar mai tarziu a construit biserica ce a fost finantata din veniturile aduse de han, o practica obisnuita in acea perioada. Ioannikos s-a stabilit, sarac si umil, in cartierul grecesc din Bucuresti in jurul anului 1700, cu scopul de a strange donatii pentru dezvoltarea Manastirii Arhiepiscopiei Pogoniana, al carei metoc (manastire afiliata) era biserica Banu Ghiorma. Ioanikie a devenit curand duhovnic aici, împrietenindu-se cu enoriașii, datorita carora a avut posibilitatea sa adune suficient aur pentru a cumpara un teren de la Doamna Despa, completat cu alt teren aflat in proprietatea lui Grigorie Greceanu. Pe terenul achizitionat el a decis sa construiasca un han (lucru realizat in anii 1722-1724) iar in incinta hanului el a ridicat o biserica finalizata in vara anului 1729 pe care a inchinat-o Manastirii Goura din Epir. Aceasta a devenit curand o manastire pentru calugari catre care mai tarziu conducatorii fanarioti au facut donatii importante.
 
Combinand stilul baroc cu stilurile orientale porticul bisericii are coloane cu decoratii vegetale si fasii florale. Decoratiile murale din interiorul bisericii sunt bine conservate si infatiseaza diverse tematici religioase. In nava bisericii este infatisata Liturghia Angelica. Pe peretele vestic al bisericii langa intrare se afla portretele intemeietorilor bisericii: Arhimandritul Ioannikos si fratii sai si Voievodul Nicolae Mavrocordat cu familia sa.
 
Din ansamblul original care includea manastirea si cladirile aferente hanului doar biserica s-a pastrat. Langa biserica pe locul unde se afla vechiul han a fost construita o manastire cu o curte interioara unde coloanele, lespezile si pietrele de mormant din vechea manastire sunt expuse intr-un Lapidarium. Zguduit de cutremure, mistuit de incendii, hanul a sfarsit in ruine si in final a disparut in anul 1871. Conformt unui raport oficial datat din 1888, biserica manastirii a ajuns de asemenea in stare critica fiind pe punctul de a suferi o “dezmembrare aproape completă”. Lucrarile de restaurare au demarat deabia in 1904 sub coordonarea talentatului arhitect roman Ion Mincu, care a construit in stilul specific al bisericii cladirile complex decorate care incadreaza curtea interioara si care pot fi admirate in prezent. De-a lungul coridoarelor deschise cuprinzând incinta centrala pavata cu piatra, a fost amenajat un lapidarium unde sunt expuse diverse sculpturi in piatra precum pietre de mormant, cruci si chiar fragmente ale vechilor console din piatra din turnul Colţea (disparut in 1888). In prezent locatia si-a redobandit destinatia originala si functioneaza ca o manastire de maici.

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