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Built in just three months and three weeks by Stephen the Great following a key 1488 victory over the Turks, Voronet Monastery is the only painted monastery that has had an internationally recognised colour associated with it. ‘Voronet Blue’, a vibrant cerulean hue created from lapis lazuli and other ingredients, is prominent in its frescoes. A 2011 restoration of frescoes in the entryway revealed the incredible quality of these paintings even more clearly.

The wondrous size, scope and detail of the Last Judgement fresco, which fills the entire exterior western wall of the Voronet Monastery, has earned near-universal accolades as being the most marvellous Bucovina fresco. Angels at the top roll up the zodiac signs, indicating the end of time, while humanity is brought to judgement in the middle. On the left, St Paul escorts the believers, while a stern Moses takes the nonbelievers on the right. Heaven and the Garden of Eden is on the bottom left, the Resurrection is on the bottom right.

Voronet Monatery – exterior wall

On the northern wall is Genesis, from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel. The southern wall features the Tree of Jesse (King David’s father) with the biblical genealogy. The first three rows portray St Nicholas’ life and miracles. The next two rows recount the martyrdom of Suceava’s St John the New. The bottom row, from left to right, features the monastery’s patron saint, St George, fighting the dragon, St Daniel the Hermit (Daniil Sihastrul) with Metropolitan Grigorie, a Deisis icon, and the 1402 procession of St John the New’s relics into Suceava.

In the antechamber lies the tomb of Daniel the Hermit, the ascetic who encouraged Stephen the Great to fight the Turks, and then became the monastery’s first abbot. Daniel’s cave is located near Putna Monastery.

The monastery is about 6km from the town of Gura Humorului.

Read an article about Putna Monastery, other church built by Stephen the Great.

Voronet Monastery
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