Sucevita Monastery (Bucovina, Romania)

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Suceviţa is the largest and also the last built of the painted monasteries of Bucovina. It was built in 1581 by the Bishop of Rădăuţi, Gheorghe Movila. It is situated in the village of the same name in the foothills of the Carpathians west of Rădăuţi. Like all the painted monasteries, the church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, is frescoed inside and out. The monastery is surrounded by thick, fortified walls built by the Voievod Ieremiah Movila, brother of Bishop Gheorghe. Both the Movila brothers are buried at the monastery.

Frescoes

The frescoes at Suceviţa are painted on a green background and are the work of two master painters, Ioan and his brother Sofronie from Suceava. The two most outstanding frescoes are the Ladder of Virtue, showing the saints ascending to heaven whilst sinners (depicted as Turks) fall down to be taken by demons, and the Last Judgement, which was left unfinished when its painter fell from the scaffold and died. Another painting of note is that of the Siege of Constantinople, showing the degree to which this event affected the Orthodox Christians of Moldova.

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