Written Culture

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The written culture of this area is indissolubly connected to the Horezu Monastery. At a time when the church represented almost the only cultural institution, namely the Medieval period – and in the case of Romanian culture this all the more evident – it is only natural that the written culture in the Horezu area be centered around the Hurezi Monastery.

For a long time, the monasteries were the first network of schools in our country. It is there that the first theology, catechesis, pastoral works, translations of patristic writings, ancient Romanian chronicles were created.  It is also in the monasteries that, starting from the 16th century, when the printing press was introduced in the Romanian space, those who dedicated their life to the printing of books, either of a religious or of a secular nature, made their apprenticeships. In order to develop these intellectual and artistic activities, the monasteries had rich libraries, containing not only theology books, but also science books (history, geography, law), philosophy, ethics and educational literature.  

At the Horezu Monastery books were created and transcribed, remarkable things from the point of view of culture and spirituality were achieved. It ought to be mentioned again the fact that, during the Middle Ages, but also throughout a great portion of the modern period, in the Romanian space, religious books were also representing sources of culture and learning.

Thus, a culture lover and protector, a main representative of the “Romanian renaissance”,  Constantin Brâncoveanu names ad administrator of the monastery founded by him at Hurezi a distinguished man of culture and a calligrapher of consummate skill: The Archimandrite Ioan. A good administrator, an acknowledged scholar of the time, become abbot of the Horezu Monastery, Ioan works at the writing and printing of various important books. One example is “The Anthology of Prayers for the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, printed at Râmnic “on the expense of the most pious Ioan, archimandrite of the Hurezu Holy Monastery”. This book represents a remarkable artistic work, containing Slavonic text and Romanian notes and explanations.

The Archimandrite Ioan taught other religious and culture devotees the secrets of writing and of printing the so needed books. One of those that followed his advice was the hieromonk Lavrentie Dimitrievici. By his care, in the year 1749, was printed at Râmnic a spelling book for children, destined to the learning of basic notions.  Acknowledged as a real magisterial figure, Lavrentie Dimitrievici wrote at Hurezu, in the year 1757, “The History of the Russian People from Its Origins, Together with the History of Peter the Great”. Known as a diligent editor and reviser of the religious books that were printed at during the 18th century, the hieromonk Lavrentie is the only monk from Horezu whose name appears in the history of Romanian culture.

Considered to be one of the deepest thinkers and scholars from the second half of the 18th century, Rafail Hurezeanu also achieved his education at the Hurez Monastery. Mastering the slavonic, greek and latin languages, Rafail translated and transcribed several manuscripts. At the middle of the 18th century, Rafail Hurezeanu transcribed “The History of Russia” and “The Life of Peter the Great”, a book written in slavonic in the library of the Hurezu Monastery.

At the Hurezu Monastery also worked the monk Filotei, who translated, from a text brought from Mount Athos, “The Flower of Gifts”, a book printed at Snagov, in 1700. His translation in the common Romanian language is considered to be the most beautiful translation of this book into Romanian.

Became a true centre of cultural propagation through all the achievements in this field, Horezu brings, during the transition period from the Medieval to the Modern age, new proofs of respect for the efforts and sacrifice of the Voivode Brâncoveanu, the founder of the Horezu Monastery.  This is where the hierodeacon Dositei transcribed, around 1700, at the urging of the archimandrite Ioan, “The Life of Varlaam and Ioasaf” a book that had been translated from Slavonic into Romanian by Udrişte Năsturel, in 1649. Before administering the printing press at Râmnic, the monk Ioan Râmniceanu wrote, at the Horezu Monastery, “The Mirror of Blessing”. Approximately 30 registers of documents from the monasteries in Oltenia, 22 memorial lists, the Chronograph, other manuscripts and translations, as well as two rite books were written by Dionisie the Ecclesiarch, after 1766, when he arrived at the monastery founded by Constantin Brâncoveanu at Horezu. It is also at Horezu that the hieromonk Naum Râmniceanu, who transcribed numerous documents, found the chronicles of our people and started to hold dear the study of history. In the year 1798, he wrote, at the Hurezu Monastery, “The Memorial of the Polovragi Monastery”.

This true host of scholars that have created and worked in the Horezu area has inoculated to the region a special literary spirit, reflected both in the present-day works of several writers, of greater or lesser fame, but also in the frequent return to this authentic spiritual source used by various established writers, who launch their books or give lectures in this historical and artistic space of great relevance to Romanian culture, created and acknowledged at Horezu during the Brâncoveanu period.