: History : CORBII DE PIATRA Monastery

The beginnings of monastic life at Corbii de Piatra (the Stone Ravens) are rather unknown. Most of the monastic settlements replaced older ones, going down through history to times beyond memory. This is how it must have been for the Ravens Monastery, located in the heart of a mysterious and very ancient ascetic Romanian settlement. The first document mentioning it is dated June 23, 1512, which is certainly not the date the monastery was first created, and there are accurate information stating that the holy place existed before this date. The cave church of is a typological derivative of the hall-church, with two altars meant for two patron saints, typical of the Byzantine world of the 10th century. It is typologically related to the group of cave churches of Cappadocia, as the special feature of the double altar with one single nave is unique in our country. This solution was probably convenient for the small communities of monks who can go without the deacon. The stylistic features, the quality of the painting, exclusive with Greek inscriptions, corroborated with information gathered from other documents, allow setting the exact date of the complex at the beginning of the 14th century. The cave complex of Corbii de Piatra is the tangible evidence of the existence of monastic nuclei of the anchorite type in Wallachia even before the organization of the Wallachian church in the 14th century.
On June 23, 1512, the nun Magdalina (her lay name being Musa, boyar daughter and wife, hereditary owner of the Corbi domain) (re)establishes the Corbii de Piatra monastery, under the patronage of the Holy Assumption, that she dedicates to the prince Neagoe Basarab, thus granting the monastery the status of princely from the very moment of its (re)establishment. It is also the first nun monastery attested by documents in our country. Only three years afterwards, probably due to the harsh living conditions, monks are brought to Corbii, and the nuns are transferred to the Cornetu monastery, the same place where, after the death of the prince, Lady Despina took the veil and changed her name to mother Platonida.
During the first half of the 18th century, after a strong colony of Romanians from Jina Sibiului settled around the monastery, for reasons pertaining to religious persecutions, it becomes a secular church, and at the beginning of the following century it changes to what it looks like today. It was then that the archpriest Iosif de Sevasta made the decision to enlarge the holy sanctuary by carving the rock to create a 5.5 m/4.5 m narthex, at the north entrance in the nave. At the same time, the wall separating the two altars breaks down and a new holy table and iconostasis are built, which will be pained by a master by the name of Stefan. In 1882, during the service celebrating the holy resurrection, the western wall of the nave collapsed (though nobody was hurt), and, in summer, the believers brought a groups of Italian master sculptors in rock from Albestii de Muscel, who carved huge stronghold-like bricks from the destroyed rock wall, that were then used to rebuilt it. Near the narthex, towards the South, lies the refectory of the holy monastery, carved in rock, which in ancient times was used as the divan hall where the prince would participate in the feast celebrating the monastery's patron saint. The most difficult cases were then solved and the hardest disputes settled. There is a rock cross from 1700 on top of the church, built in hard rock, and a wooden sexton with a bell tower built in 1890 in front of it.
Lately, services in the holy church were rare, only once a year, at St. Paul and Peter's day, which was mistakenly considered to be the feast in honor of the saint patrons of the church by the devotees. Initially, the church was under the patronage of the Assumption, as mentioned in all later documents. How then can we explain the change in the date of this feast, from August 15 to June 29? After the passing of the new benefactor, the prince Neagoe Basarab, the tradition caught and was perpetuated - tradition started by his desire, as laid out in the document written June 17, 1517, to have his burial feast remembrance on some day of every year. And since the monks would receive the prince's donation on June 29, this day remained a token of remembrance after his death. And in time, since the only service still held in the old church was on this day, in memory of the late prince, this feast was believed to be the feast of the saint patrons of the church.
Today, at Corbii de Piatra, through the care of His Holiness Calinic Argeseanul, on March 23, 2003, monastic life interrupted more than 200 years ago was resumed, with the purpose to start work and build a monastery complex with cell buildings, chapel et annexes, and to start the restoration of the paintings, that hopefully will help the once-famous holy sanctuary recover as much as possible of its former glory.

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