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Sfântul Mercurie Monastery, Plătărești

Category Temple



917200 Calarasi


The Monastery of Plataresti is an Orthodox monastery, under the canonical subordination of the Episcopate of Slobozia and Calarasi. The monastery was founded by the Wallachian prince Matei Basarab and his wife Elina in 1632, the stone church of the monastery being built by the same Lord between the years 1642-1646. It was consecrated on 3 April 1646. The monastery is situated in the south part of the town of Plataresti, part of the Calarasi County. It is built on the terrace of the Dambovita River, after its confluence with the Colentina River, about 20 kilometers southeast of Bucharest and 15 kilometers away from the Cernica Monastery. The architectural ensemble of the Monastery of Plataresti was declared a historical monument in 1915 and is currently included on the list of historical monuments in the Calarasi County in the years 2004 and 2010. The monastic ensemble consists of: Sfantul Mare Mucenic Mercurie Church, the Royal House, cellars, annexed buildings and a fence, all included on the list of historical monuments.

Monastic life was interrupted several times throughout history, the monastery was falling into ruins and having to be restored. In certain periods, the monastery was transformed by authorities into a penitentiary for women and a hospital for mentally ill patients.[1]


Legends about the beginning of the monastery mention two main stories. According to the first, the monastery was raised to commemorate a struggle with the Tartars who supported Radu Ilias in taking over the reign from Matei Basarab in 1632. The second story says that Matei Basarab raised the monastery in memory of his victory over Vasile Lupu at Nenishori in October 1639. It is possible that both stories are true in the sense that after the Battle of 1632 Matei Basarab founded the monastery and after the victory in 1639 he built the monastery's stone church.

The monastery suffered significant destruction and loss during the various wars waged on Romanian territory in the nineteenth century. In fact, in the second half of the 18th century, the headquarters of the various Austrian and Russian occupation troops engaged in the battles with the Ottoman Empire were established in the monastery.

The census of Wallachia from 1823 mentions the Monastery of Plataresti, stating that it is in a state of advanced degradation, having both of its towers collapsed. In 1836, the monastery was subordinated to the Department of Faith (the equivalent of the Ministry of Religious Affairs during the Organic Regulation), which turned it into a penitentiary for women. The monastery operated in this way for 8 years, until 1844, when together with all its movable and immovable assets, it was transferred to the Metropolitanate of Wallachia, under whose authority it remained until 1863 when, following the secularization of the monasteries, it was transferred to the state administration, functioning only as a parish church for the village of Plataresti. In exchange for secular wealth, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza gave the monastery two bronze bells, which were later taken by the occupying German troops during the First World War. In 1864 the ensemble of the monastery underwent new repairs for its transformation into the penitentiary for women from 1866 until 1924.

In 1896 the monastery went under the protection of the Historical Monuments Commission. On July 2, 1915, the King issued a Higher Royal Decree stating that all the churches and monasteries of the country built prior to 1834 are declared to be historical monuments, under the protection of the law for monument conservation, in order not to be demolished, restored or repaired without the prior approval of the respective Commission.

During the First World War, the area was occupied by the Central Powers, the monastery being occupied and devastated. As a result of that, no older document about its history was kept in the archive of the monastery. Only a few religious books surivived the destruction.

After World War I, the monastery was occupied by the women's prison until 1924, when the monastery and its heritage were regained legally reintegrating into the composition of the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1930, Patriarch Miron Cristea decided to re-establish the Monastery of Plataresti, as a monastery of monks, and at the same time decided to move the candle making workshop of the Patriarchate there.[2]

Between 1960 and 1989, during the communist regime, the monastery is transformed into a mental asylum, the church - bounded by the rest of the ensemble by a fence of concrete plates - remained as a parish church.

Since 1985, the Ministry of Culture, led by the architect Mihai Opreanu, has been working on the historical study and the church restoration project. The execution ran from 1991-1992 until 1997. Nowadays the two towers on the nave and the narthex built at previous restorations are relinquished, returning to the tower that houses the church in the style of the churches of its age (a tower of 18 meters high). Consolidation works are taking place and it is now returning to the exterior appearance of the brick by giving up the layers of plaster. There is also restoration of the painting of the narthex and of the iconostasis, the painting of the nave, the altar and the porch of no historic value.

The monastery was re-established in 2000 as a nunnery, alternately changing its destination (in 2004 it was inhabited by monks, and now by nuns) and starting to approve the restoration of the cells and the restoration of the monastery lands. The restoration began only in 2007, with the northern body, the second as historical value after the Royal House, and was completed by the end of 2008.


The Monastery of Plataresti has an important historical and heritage value, through the paintings of the narthex and the four royal and church icons, preserved in their original form during the time of Matei Basarab.



It is located, next to Arnota Monastery, the only monastery founded by Matei Basarab in which the original 17th-century mural painting was preserved.


Religious site


[1] Mănăstirea Plătărești

[2] Mănăstirea Plătărești