Botoşani

Agafton Monastery

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Agafton
Location:
Botoşani

Objective:
Religious & cultural monuments

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The space where Agafton Monastery is situated seems taken from a fairy-tale, especially if you visit in summer. Located atop a wooded hill, the whole yard is full of colourful flowers where thousands of cheerful bugs buzzing keep busy.

 

The monastery is located in the Agafton village, Curtesti Commune going from Botosani to Suceava, at less than 10 kilometres.

 

But the peaceful and quiet this place is nowadays, the troubled was its history.

 

The name of the monastery is taken from the one who founded it, respectively Agafton Monk, who built here a wooden church at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The settlement was known from the beginning as “the Hermitage of Agafton” considering that he has spent ten years in the wilderness before the foundation of the monastery.

 

For nearly a century there was a community of monks here. But in 1803, as there were few monasteries of nuns, the Metropolitan Veniamin Costachi of Moldavia decided that it should become a convent of nuns.

 

A noteworthy detail is that among the nuns who lived in peace at Agafton Monastery we can mention the three aunts after the mother of the poet Mihai Eminescu: Sofia, Fevronia and Olimpiada Iurascu, the latest one being, one time, Superior of the monastery.

 

Locals tell what they heard from their elders that frequently the poet travelled from Ipotesti to Agafton, on foot, to visit his aunts.

 

Returning to the history of the monastery, it was among the few who have escaped the secularization of Cuza, after a series of protests by the nuns here, supported in their attempt by believers.

 

In 1864, the first primary school in the village was founded within the monastery. The nuns’ involvement in the life of the society did not stop there, they participated as volunteer nurses during the War of Independence, which is why since 1913 the Red Cross has organized medical training courses for the nuns at Agafton.

 

Thus, during the First World War, some nuns were distributed to several hospitals while the remaining ones worked various clothing items for the soldiers on the battlefield.

 

Moreover, the nuns have received in their cells for several months, many refugee women with their children who fled from the occupied areas due to the war.

 

Within Agafton Monastery was also founded a vocational school, several workshops having been open dedicated to knitting, drapery, carpet weaving, embroidery, tailoring etc.

 

However in 1959, the monastery was abusively abolished, as a home for the elderly people with disabilities was transferred here. After the Revolution of December 1989, in March 1991, Agafton Monastery was rebuilt, and five years later the first nuns arriving there.

 

At the beginning they were forced to live with the patients, but after several disagreements they demanded their removal in court. Only in December 1999, the home was transferred to a neighbouring village.

 

Currently Agafton Monastery is in a complex process of restoration and the nuns’ gate is open again for anyone who wants to visit them. They have even founded a camp for children, at the entrance into the courtyard of the monastery.

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