Suceava

The Church of Arbore

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Arbore
Location:
Arbore

Objective:
Religious & cultural monuments

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Bucovina is,  beyond all doubt, a piece of Heaven, especially thanks to its chain of monasteries and churches. For the believers who, for a few moments, want to collect their own thoughts and to be closed to God, the Church of Arbore is certainly the proper destination, being also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

 

The religious place has as Patron the “Tăierea capului Sfântului Ioan Botezătorul” (The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist), being founded by Luca Arbore at the beginning of 1500 in the last part of the ruling years of Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great).

 

An inscription inside the edifice specifies that the paintings, both interior and exterior paintings have been made by Dragos Coman, son of a priest from Iasi, upon the request of the Ana Arbore, sister of the founder.

 

By comparison to the other churches of Bucovina, the place of Arbore seems quite modest. The church is not grandiose by size, but through its paintings, original for those times, but also by the architectonic style.

 

On the wall with the church entrance we can admire paintings showing the founder Luca Arbore and his family in more hypostasis. These are called votive paintings.

 

Interesting for a church is that on the West wall is painted the Cavalcade of the Constantine Emperor, a scene that sends a strong anti-Ottoman message, which also appear in the Moldavian iconography, only at Patrauti.

 

More, the Caste on the apse, is an unique appearance in the mural painting of Moldavia.

 

Impressive in the church painting is also its decorative quality and the painter ingenuity. In several times, the figures have no canonical postures or gestures. The warm and bright colouring however put in value the Emperors Constantine and Helen, the couple who is consider a protector of Moldavia, which appears illustrated on the walls of the Church of Arbore.

 

Although, he is not cleric, Dragos Coman put all his skill in creating the paintings. The result is a combination of the occidental and oriental elements, obviously blended to the Moldavian style, unusual for those times.

 

But, unfortunately, the painting from the interior and exterior of the church of Arbore was almost destroyed during the period when the building lost its roof, due to a destroying fire.

 

After 1900, several series of restoration and consolidation works took place. But, the Church of Arbore remains one of the most valuable and laic operas of the Moldavian art.

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