Voronet Monastery (Bucovina, Romania)

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Voronet is a monastery for women built by the Voievod of Moldova, St. Stephen the Great, in 1488. Its building took three months and 21 days to complete. It is one of the famous "Painted Monasteries of Bucovina" (all these monasteries are frescoed on the outside as well as internally) and is situated within a short distance of the town of Gura Humorului.

The monastery was built to fulfill a promise to Stephen's spiritual father and adviser, St. Daniel the Hermit, who had lived in a cell in the area, after a victory in battle over the Ottoman Turks. Upon his death, St. Daniel was buried in the monastery church (with the exception of his right index finger, which was encased in silver and sent to Putna Monastery).


The frescoes were painted between 1534 and 1535, during the reign of one of Stephen's successors, Petru Rareş. They were commissioned at the request of the Metropolitan of Moldova, Grigore Roşca. The names of the artists are unknown except for one master painter, Marcu. Because of the frescoes' vivid color, "Voronet Blue," a pigment created using lapis lazuli, has entered the artistic lexicon alongside "Titian Red." Probably the most accomplished painting at Voroneţ and indeed in all of Moldova is that of the Last Judgment on one end wall of the monastery church. Another famous painting is that of Jesse's Tree, showing the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Due to the high quality of the frescoes at Voroneţ, its church, which is dedicated to St. George the Trophy-bearer, has become known as the "Sistine Chapel of the East."

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