Pătrăuţi Monastery was reopened after being abolished by the Habsburg Monarchy more than two centuries ago. On the Sunday of the Holy Cross, His Grace Assistant Bishop Damaschin of Dorna installed Mother Alexandra (Bădragan) as the new abbess of Pătrăuti-Elevation of the Cross Monastery.
His Grace also celebrated the first Divine Liturgy at the newly-reopened monastery. The service was attended by numerous believers, as well as monks and nuns from other Bukovina monasteries.
Pătrăuti is one of Romania’s famous painted monasteries. It was founded by St. Stephen the Great in 1487. Its population quickly declined after the Habsburgs occupied Bukovina in 1774-1775, and it was finally abolished and turned into a parish at the beginning of the 19th century. The Archdiocesan Council of Suceava officially decided to reopen the monastery at its recent session on March 31.
The monastery, a UNESCO monument, is the oldest church left from the time of St. Stephen the Great. The monastery church is currently undergoing restoration that is scheduled to be completed this year.
The meaning of Holy Cross Sunday
In his homily, the assistant bishop highlighted the significance of the third Sunday of Great Lent.
“It is an interiorization of the Cross, a sealing with the sign of the Holy Cross of all thoughts, words, deeds, our whole being. Just as we put the seal on the bread we bring to church, and it is pure, and it is no longer ordinary bread, but it is bread destined to be sanctified, so we must put the seal of the Holy Cross on all of us.”
His Grace also spoke about self-love and the connection with the Holy Cross.
“What gives birth to self-love? Our passions, our lusts, our pleasures. And that is why self-love and the struggle with passions have to do with the Holy Cross. (…) By making the sign of the Holy Cross, we want to stop passion, pleasure. When we give alms to someone, it is still a way to crucify the passion of the love of money and the love of wealth.”
Photography courtesy of the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuți