Putna Monastery (Bucovina, Romania)

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Putna Monastery, in Bucovina, Romania, was built by the Voievod and Saint Stephen the Great between 1466 and 1469 in a general area picked out by Stephen's spiritual father St. Daniel the Hermit. The exact position of the church was left up to God when Stephen went to the top of a hill and fired an arrow—wherever it fell the church would be built. A section of tree trunk containing the arrow hole is still kept in the monastery museum and a cross marks the spot from which the arrow was shot.

The monastery church was dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15) and the monastery was consecrated on September 3, 1470. Putna quickly became a cultural centre for medieval Moldova, together with other monasteries such as Voroneţ, Suceviţa and Moldoviţa. Stephen the Great donated the head of St. Ghenadie to Putna and, after his death, the right index finger of St. Daniel the Hermit was also kept at the monastery, encased in silver. Upon his death in 1504, St. Stephen the Great was buried at Putna, where his tomb is venerated by pilgrims to this day. Other relics kept in the monastery include particles of the Three Holy Hierarchs (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom), St. Anna the mother of the Theotokos, St. Alexander, St. Nectarios of Aegina, St. Vavila, St. Panteleimon, St. George the Trophy-bearer, St. Raphael, St. Gideon and St. Seraphim of Sarov.

The monastery has been damaged many times by fires and earthquakes during its five centuries but has always been restored and remains the centre of spiritual life in Bucovina. The two major festivals at the monastery which attract thousands of pilgrims every year are the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15 and the feast of St. Stephen the Great on July 2.

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