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Capriana Monastery - Moldova

Capriana monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Basarabia. It is situated only 35 kmnorth – west of Chisinau, at the Isnovat locality, on the bunch of the river with the same name (Isnavat).

For the first time it was mentioned in charters of Alexander the Kind in the 30′s of the 15 th century. The first official document which contains data about Capriana Monastery is the Alexander the Kind royal charters dating from April 25, 1420 where the following was mentioned: “for our really devoted servant and nobleman Mr. Oana Vornic we offer our country which is Moldova the villages: Cornestii and Miclausestii, and Lozova, and Sacarenii, and Vornicenii, and Dumestii, and Tiganestii, and Lavrestii, and Sadova, and Homestii. And the boundaries of these villages which represent Barcovat beginning with the territory of Varnet monastery, the Acibco apiary, the top of Lozova, the Carlanici bridge, the Fontana Mica and Fontana Mare and namely with the Tarnaucai glade, from the Chiprian’s glade with the Bac mill, from the large river meadow towards Poroseci”.

The royal legacy charter dating from February 10, 1429 is the second document which tells about Capriana Monastery from the times of Alexander the King reign: “I am Alexander Voievod – the ruler of Moldova and I mention in this charter the fact that we gave Vasnevat monastery where Chiprian is the Superior, to our wife – princess Merena.

Initially, the monastery was named after Vasnavet, which is a river flowing near the monastery; later it was renamed into Capriana, thus honoring the name Chiprian who was the first Superior of the monastery. 

In the Grigore Ureche (the chronicler) papers the following is mentioned: Petru Rares – the ruler of Moldova (1527 – 1538), (1541-1546) would have built the first stone church in locality Capriana with the Holy Virgin Dormition titulr saint. Grirore Ureche offered to the monastery a Gospel written in Slavonic language on parchment, banded with wooden covers and blown with silver. At the first page the following text was written: “Devoted and loving God Ioan Petru Voievod, with the God forgiveness becoming the ruler of the whole Moldovan land and his wife Elena, and his sons – Ilias Voievod, Shtefan and Constantin embellished this Gispel and in October 7053 (1545) gave it to the newly built Holy Virgin Dormition Monastery which is Capriana”.

Because of economical decline and cultural stagnation, the Capriana Monastery experimented a difficult period in the XVIIth century.

Only after 1813, thanks to metropolitan bishop Gavriil Banu1escu-Bodoni, a revigoration of monastic life was registered.

With the insistence of bishops, the Capriana Monastery was given to the Zograful Monastery in 1837, the archbishop receiving the Harjauca monastery. The monastery was under the leadership of Zograful monastery till March 9, 1873.

On June 29, 1940, aday after the conquest of Basarabia by Soviet troops, the whole estate of the monastery was confiscated. The last abbot of the monastery was the Superior Eugeniu (1952—1962) and the last church oration was solemnized on October 25, 1962. aday after the activity which lasted more than a half of the millennium, the monastery was closed, hieromonks tooking refuge in other parishes, monks and brothers being driven banished.

The Soviet State declared the Capriana Monastery an architectural monument governmentally protected, but at the same times the monastery begun to be foraged and crashed.

After 1962, the monastery was transformed into a sanatorium for sick children. The monastery refectory was transformed into a club where dancing parties, good cheers and weddings were organized.

With the Republic of Moldova Council of Ministers decision, the Capriana Monastery became again a place for orations; the first abbot of the monastery was archimandrite Iosif Gargalac, who was an ex- abbot at the Soruceni Monastery. With the retreating of the abbot Iosif, the monastery was conducted by hieromonk Serafim, who continued the reconstruction of the monastery.

In 1994 – 1997 the refectory of the monastery was reconstructed and transformed into church for winter orations.

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