Neamts Monastery

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The Neamts Monastery (Mănăstirea Neamţ), situated 12 miles northwest of the historic Neamts Citadel, is known as the 'Romanian Orthodox Jerusalem' and is one of the most important monastic communities of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Moldavia.

History

The Neamts Monastery was founded at the end of the 14th century as the Monastery of the Ascension of Christ. The first written record of the Monastery dates to 1407. During the reign of St. Stephen the Great of Moldavia the Monastery's Church of the Ascension, a jewel of Moldavian architecture, was built following the destruction of the old church in the 1471 earthquake. Most of Moldavia's rulers patronized the Neamts Monastery, endowing it with villages and and estates, funding the repair and expansion of the Monastery complex, and granting the Monastery special privileges in their domains.

The eventual decline of the spiritual life of the Monastery was arrested and undone by St. Paisius Velichkovsky, who settled at Neamts with his disciples in 1779. As a result of St. Paisius' arrival Neamts became a center of monastic life and Hesychasm not only for Moldavia, but also for the rest of the Romanian-speaking territories as well as the Russian Empire. It also became a center of patristic studies as St. Paisius and other monks at the Monastery labored to translate the writings of the Fathers into Slavonic.

In later years there was a split in the brotherhood of the Monastery, which at least since the time of St. Paisius had been a mix of Romanians, Ukrainians, and Russians, between those supporting the ban of Slavonic in the services by the newly united Principality of Romania and those against it. The supporters of Slavonic eventually left the Monastery for Russian Bessarabia, where they founded the New Neamts or Chitcani Monastery (Mănăstirea Noul Neamţ/Chiţcani) in 1861.

Today the Neamts Monastery consists of the central monastery itself and seven sketes scattered in the countryside around it.

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