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Voronet

The Sixtine Chapel of the East

Today's monastery was build on an older wooden church of Daniil Sihastrul, the famous consultant-priest of the greatest Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great which is buried inside the church. It was further expanded to a monastery in 1472, but today's church was build by Stephen the Great between May 26 and September 14, 1488, according to the votive painting over the entrance. The church is dedicated to saint George and is the last one of the 4 build within one single year by the Moldavian ruler. The exterior painting was undertaken during Petru Rares' rule, after 1532. Voronet monastery was included on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List.

On the western side of the church there can be seen the most impressive painting of Voronet: the Last Judgment, painted in the famous, beautiful and profound blue. The traditional windows were eluded and the whole wall was dedicated to this painting. The five registers must be read from top to bottom and represent the theological program. In the highest row, angels gather the skies and zodiac signs, in the middle being represented the Holy Father. Below Him, Jesus is represented between Mother Mary and John the Baptist (the Deesis). They are surrounded by angels and by the twelve apostles, as witness'. In the third and middle register, there is displayed the throne of 'Hetoimasia" (Greek for 'Preparation'). Near it are kneeling Adam and Eve. On the left side are the Faithufl ones, on the right - the Unfaithful, represented as Jews, Turks, Tatars and Armenians. The lower register represents Difference of the Souls. The Devil drags the sin registers while the Angels, led by Archangel Michael, throw Devils and Sinners in the Storm of Fire. On Judgment Day, the Angels sing heavenly songs with traditional Romanian instruments ("bucium"). The Earth and the See, the Graves and the Animals give back the dead. On the left, the Crowd of Holymen enters Paradise, where Mother Mary is waiting for them. The biblical fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hold the souls of the Right ones in their laps. The painting represents very impressive how, despite the prescribed religious norms, artists were able to express their freedom in portraits, scenery, clothing and dramatic actions and to present them harmoniously to the people gathered around the church.

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