Comana Monastery, built by the romanian prince Vlad the Impaler has the first written evidence of its existence in a document emitted by the latter’s chancellery on 27 September 1461. A tumultuous history has made it so that, nowadays, out of the entire fortified monastery complex of Comana, built entirely out of brick, only the northern and western walls of the chapels were maintained and, in a state of decay, the eastern wall and a patched-up portion of the bell-tower.
The vestiges discovered between 1970 and 1971 revealed the remains of a church, the foundation of a bell-tower, traces of some humble chapels and a part of a cemetery, all of which are to be found nowadays on the premises of the monastery, below the construction level of the building walls. In the place where the founder’s tomb was supposed to be, there was only a decapitated body, without any royal markings or inscriptions, but that had been surrounded by scattered coins emitted in the time of Vlad the Impaler, which leads one to believe that this is the place where the great prince had found his resting place.
Research shows that, because the monastery had come to ruin, in the year 1588 boyar Radu Serban din Coiani (Radu Serban of Coiani) begins the foundation of a monastery in Comana, and the choice of location was determined by the existence of the walls belonging to the old monastery.
Radu Serban, who became ruler of the Romanian Realm (August 1602), has the church of Comana painted in 1609, and after his death his family laid his remains to rest at Comana. At that time, in order to reach Comana, one had to go by ferry on the waters of the Neajlov River.
In 1699-1701, the great ruler Serban Cantacuzino begins the restoration of Comana monastery. Exquisitely rich, the proof being the domains it possessed, the monastery was in the time of Matei Basarab one of the main religious centres in the country. This is the place where the future Metropolitan Bishop and partisan in the anti – Ottoman war effort, the Holy Hierarch and Confessor Sava Brancovici (1620 -1693) began his apprenticeship. In 1703 Serban Cantacuzino builds “Saint Spiridon and Eftimie” Chapel on the south-eastern part of the monastery and, when he died, in 1709, he was also interred at Comana. But his burial site wasn’t recognizable because it had been devastated by the Greek monks.
In 1728 the monastery is submitted to the Patriarchy of The Holy Tomb of Jerusalem by Nicolae Mavrocordat (1715 – 1716; 1719 – 1730), because there were no more direct descendants of the founder that could have watched over its fate. Through this submission, the monastery loses some of its wealth and domains and subsequently begins the period of decay of Comana.
In 1822 an earthquake greatly affects the entire complex and, in 1847, Schlatter, the State Architect, suggests the rebuilding to commence from the ground up, having considered that repairs were futile. Therefore, in 1854 the restoration and resuscitation efforts take their first steps towards their completion for the holy ground, and, in 1863, after the secularization of the clerical wealth, the Greek monks leave Comana.
Beyond this date no repair was made for over 100 years, all domains being expropriated, and the monastery becoming a parochial church for the village until 1991. In 1877, the County Prefecture was lodged in the place of the former monastery, but after the War of Independence, the landlord of the domain lived in one of the wings of the former chapel building and in the other wing there was the school building and the lodging of the village teacher. Only in 1908, had the entire architectural complex of Comana been restored for the first time, the history of this monastery being managed by Alexandru Lepadatu. The location fell into ruin again, especially after World War II.
In 1932, between the walls of Comana Monastery, the Mausoleum for the Fallen Heroes of World War I in the battles of the Neajlov River was erected, its construction being suggested by the great historian Nicolae Iorga. During the 1970-1971 archaeological diggings some restoration efforts for the entire complex took place as well. The church, greatly battered by the earthquakes of 1977 and 1986, was entirely reinforced, pending in the years to come to be repainted.
In 1991 Comana becomes again a monastery of monks, with a normal clerical life. Although battered by history, the monastery had two guardians watching down upon it from heaven: the Holy Hierarch Nicolae (Nicholas), whose three hundred-year old icon brings alleviation to believers through its miracles and the Holy Virgin.
In 2007, under the guidance of His Worship, † Ambrozie, Bishop of Giurgiu, the parish of Comana is created and the building of a parochial church that would serve the community begins. Nowadays, Father Mihail Muscariu (Michael), preoccupied with the place’s history, commenced restoration works for the monastery regarding the celebration of 550 years of historical documentation – “Comana 1461 – 2011”.
A tradition with its roots long forgotten makes crowds of people come and worship on the celebration of Saint Mary’s day, on 15 August, when the entire courtyard of the monastery is filled with people who come from all over the country driven by the mutual feeling that their prayers are being answered. Comana Monastery can be reached via the Giurgiu – Bucharest motorway changing direction at Călugăreni towards Brăniştari and then passing through the forest to the monastery.
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