Read, Write, Run, Roam

Monastery on Sunday: Sinaia, Romania


This monastery is to Sinaia what Jan was to the Brady family: perfectly lovely, but not as glamorous as big sister Peles Castle or as cute as the little houses in the Transylvanian countryside. It’s a bit of a shame because the Sinaia Monastery is worthy of more attention–or at least worthy of a Church on Sunday.

The monastery contains two churches. The old church, Biserica Veche, was built in 1695. The “new” church, Biserica Mare, was built in 1846. The monastery was intended to hold 12 monks, like the disciples. Or doughnuts. (Coincidence?!?) However, more monks were admitted over the years.  Thirteen monks reside there today.

We first stopped by the new church. The interior was colorful with gold adornment and lots of art, including an embroidered icon called a epitaphios. I’d love to show you photos but they were forbidden and a baba was giving me the side eye the entire time. I don’t know who alerted her to my Church-on-Sunday ways, but I was sufficiently rattled enough to stash my “church camera” (a small point-and-shoot with a silent shutter).

We walked over to the old church and were rewarded with fewer visitors, a recent renovation, and no evil-eyed babas. Jackpot.

The old church features exterior frescoes. I’ve noticed this on other Romanian churches but it seems to be pretty rare in other Orthodox cultures. (As always, readers, correct me if needed.)

According to Wikipedia, the old church was renovated in 2006, and the interior frescoes were retouched in 1795. It looks as though there was some retouching during the 2006 renovation though, because these colors seemed awfully vibrant.

The monastery also featured something I saw throughout Romanian churches: an outdoor votive candle cabinet. I’m guessing this cuts down on church fires, but there’s probably a more religious explanation as well. The words on the different cabinets signify where you light candles for the living or for the dead. I guess zombies are just out of luck.

The monastery was a pretty addition to the other Sinaia sights. It’s often overlooked by visitors saying “Peles, Peles, Peles!” but if you’re in the area, stop by. I hear George Glass loves it too.

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