XIII, 2017, 1

Observations about the Moldavian Archimandrites from the 15th and 16th Centuries | p. 111–131

archimandrite, Bistrița Monastery, Moldavia, Putna, Stephen the Great


This study investigates a problem of ecclesiastical history about the medieval Moldavian region, namely the situation of the archimandrites from the 15th and 16th centuries and their role in the organization, leadership, and functioning of the Orthodox Church in Moldavia. The author analyzes the evolution of this ecclesiastical title, noting that in the 15th century only the abbot of Bistrița Monastery held it. Beginning with 1467, Putna’s abbot was given the honor as well, but this must be correlated with Stephen the Great’s desire to turn his first foundation into a monastic center of prime importance. Furthermore, most of the archimandrites from the period studied by us are from Putna and Bistriţa Monasteries, although this title is sporadically documented as belonging to the heads of other monasteries as well, such as Probota or Humor. Having a legally privileged status, the archimandrite title was particularly important, as the granting of this dignity to the hegumen of a monastery was correlated with an increase in the prestige of the respective monastic community.