Sinaia Monastery, Romania
1400AD-Present-Modern Era Europe Romania

Sinaia Monastery – “the younger sister” of the great St Catherine’s Monastery from Egypt

September 5, 2020

This post is also available in: Română

FounderMihai Cantacuzino
Age300 years old
Visiting HoursWinter, on request – 10:00 AM – 3 PM
Summer – 10 AM – 5 PM
Location2 Manastirii St, Sinaia, Prahova County, Romania, Europe

When you step inside Sinaia Monastery

  • When you step on the gate of Sinaia Monastery you are greeted by the beauty of the Great Church.
  • On the left of the entrance, a fountain greets thirsty travelers.
  • When you walk through the passage in front of the Great Church you will discover the Old Church, which was founded by Prince (Spatarul) Mihail Cantacuzin upon his return from a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai.

Monastic ensemble

  • The Old Church (The small church)Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church – was founded by Mihai Cantacuzino – 1695, it gives its name Sinaia after that of the St Catherine’s Monastery where he was on a pilgrimage. The paintings of the Small Church were made by the famous Pârvu Mutu – Zugravu (1657-1735).
  • The Great Church (The big church) – The Holy Trinity Church – was built under the abbots Ioasaf and Paisie between 1843-1846 (reign of Bibescu Vodă). It is the first place of worship in Romania with electric lighting.
  • Sinaia Monastery Museum – is the first religious museum in the country, built-in 1895 on the occasion of the bicentennial of the monastery.
  • The Bell Tower – was built in 1892; the bell brought from the Colţea tower in Bucharest was cast (1775) and returned (1914) weighs 1700 kg.
  • The tomb of Tache Ionescu – a well-known politician, born in Ploieşti, he dedicated his entire activity to the reunification of the nation.
  • The “Transfiguration of Christ” Chapel

The Old Church

  • The old church has the shape of the exterior in Latin cross (apses in rectangular contour), unique in Romania.
  • The painting on the porch and narthex is mostly the original one, made by Pârvu Mutu Zugravul, the favorite painter of the Cantacuzins.
  • The votive painting depicts the founder of the monastery, Mihail Cantacuzino, surrounded by eighteen children (of whom 12 are adopted), his first wife (Maria) and his second (Teodora), as well as other members of the Cantacuzino family, instead of led by the founder’s brother, the steward Constantin Cantacuzino.
  • Unfortunately, the church suffered fire damage in 1788, during the Russo-Austro-Turkish war, and was partially repainted in 1795 by painters who also rebuilt the chapel, Manole, Ioan, and Tudorache, so the porch painting, votive painting, and tower painting (except Pantocrator) are the only original painting that is preserved.

The Great Church

  • The two Russian icons in the narthex, St. Sergius and St. Nicholas, are the gift made by Tsar Nicholas II to the abbot of Sinaia Monastery, Nifon the Archimandrite, in 1903, on the occasion of the baptism of Prince Nicholas, son of King Ferdinand (1914-1927).
  • The church was electrified in 1906.

Sinaia Monastery Museum

  • The building that currently houses the museum of Sinaia Monastery was built in 1846 by the care of the inhabitants of the monastery under the guidance of Abbot Paisie.
  • It is 45 m long and was originally a guest house.
  • Among the most representative objects exhibited here is the first Bible translated in the Romanian language from Bucharest (1688), five icons by Pârvu Mutu (approx. 1693), altar crosses from the XVII-XIX centuries, the first music books printed in Romanian (Anastasimatarul and Catavasierul, Jerome Macarie, Vienna, 1823).

The Bell Tower

  • During the leadership of Hegumen Nifon Popescu (1888–1909), a large bell tower was added to the monastery walls. It was completed in 1892. The 1 700-kilogram bell was brought from the Colţea Tower in Bucharest.

The “Transfiguration of Christ” Chapel

  • The “Transfiguration of Christ chapel was built in 1695 and was also painted by Pârvu Mutu, in the “al fresco” technique.
  • In the extension of the Chapel is the tomb of Take Ionescu, statesman and great orator, born in Ploieşti in 1858 and died in Rome in 1922.
I’ll keep you up to date with inspiration for your travels. You’ll be the first to know about new articles.