About DURAU Monastery
Durau monastery is located in Durau resort at 88 km north-west of Piatra Neamt and 65 km of Targu Neamt. At 5 km from the monastery there is Duruitoarea waterfall, which also it’s said that gave the name of the place.
Patron of Durau Monastery: “Buna Vestire” (March 25) (“Buna Vestire” means the good news and it celebrates the news about the birth of Jesus)
Year of construction: built between 1830-1835 by few monks helped by Safta Brancoveanu and on the expense on three wealthy merchants from Piatra Neamt.
Short history of Durau Monastery
Durau Monastery was built on the place where there was a hermitage of nuns, founded in the XVII century by one of prince Vasile Lupu’s daughters. The first documentary mention about Durau Monastery is from 1779 when abbot was Nazaria. After that moment the nuns retreated to the place called Poiana Varatec and founded Varatec Monastery. In the year 1802 Durau monastery was brought back to life with the help of monk Peter and few monks from some hermitages nearby.
The construction of the present day church from Durau monastery took place where the old wooden church was and it began in the year 1830 with the help of some monks from the monasteries Neamt and Secu on the expense of some wealthy merchants from Piatra Neamt. The porch of the church, which can be seen today, was painted in oil in the year 1835 by painters Pimen, Macarie and Ghervasie. The wall that separates the altar from the rest of the church is sculpted in lime wood covered in gold and painted in 1835 at Constantinople. The construction of the church was finished in the year 1835 and received as patron “The Good News – Buna Vestire”, the first service being held by Mitropolit Veniamin Costachi.
In the year 1935 the rest of the church from Durau monastery, that were at that time not painted, was beautifully covered with paintings that had the colors diluted in wax, by the famous painter Nicolae Tonitza and his apprentices from The Academy of Fine Arts – among them was also the painter Corneliu Baba. Under the guidance of Tonitza, the students manage to create a beautiful picture of the Romanian spirituality. After the painting was finished the church received a second sanctification service on 14 September 1937.
Right at the entrance in Durau monastery, in the year 1835, was built the bell-tower which is situated at 40 m north from the altar. This tower is a massive construction of stone, with a square section, that has three levels. The first floor of the tower hosts the chapel “Schimbarea la Fata – The Change of Face (of Jesus)) that was painted in the year 1938 by Varahil Moraru. Here we can also find an exhibition of some beautiful religious art.
Durau Monastery functioned from 1959 first as a small parish, then as a hermitage of monks. In the year 1991 this place returns to its origins and is transformed in a monastery of nuns. Here, at Durau Monastery you can see the old traditions from Ceahlau area kept alive and also benefit from a moment of peaceful silence and prayers.
At Durau monastery , in the year 1991, was founded, by His Holiness Daniel the Patriarh of Romania, a Cultural Center called “St Daniil Sihastru”. This cultural center is a place that works hard to leverage the orthodox spirituality.
The architectural complex from this monastery is formed by The Church of “Buna Vestire”, the house of Abbot Veniamin Costachi, the house Varahil Moraru, the abbot house, the bell-tower of stone and the bell-tower of wood.
Durau Monastery founded two hermitages called The Hermitage of St Teodora from Sihla from Ceahlau village and The Hermitage of Holy Parascheva from Borca village , both in the Neamt County. Many well known persons found in this place situated at the foot of Ceahlau mountain the peace and quiet they were searching for: Alexandru Vlahuta, Barbu Delavrancea, Caragiale, Aurel Baesu, Mihail Sadoveanu, Mitropolitul Veniamin Costache, Emil Garleanu, N. Gane.