IX, 2013, 1

Eighteen Years of Life in Putna’s Archive Documents (1900–1918) | p. 255–268

1904, Franz Joseph I, museum, Putna, Teofil Patraş


In the last years of the Austrian monarchy in Bukovina (1900–1918) the Putna Monastery channeled Romanians’ hopes for national unity. Romanians sought at Putna a place of spiritual refuge, a place of historical memory, and a place of cultural and spiritual identity. Thus, it was no surprise when a local wished the abbot of the monastery, Teofil Patraş, at the beginning of his tenure, „make the Holy Putna Monastery for us more than what Mecca is for the Muslims”. With a brotherhood not exceeding 14 monks, many old and sick, Putna tried to meet these expectations. In those years the monastery generously helped the other churches from Bukovina with money, vestments, books and various objects of ritual, while some of its treasures were exhibited in Bucharest, Cernăuţi and Vienna. From these years date the renovation of the roofing and masonry of the monastery (1901– 1903), the construction of the first building designed to be a museum (1911), the celebration of the 4th centennial of the death of Stephen the Great (1904) and the visits of various distinguished Romanian personalities. The years of the First World War represented for the Putna Monastery a silent resistance, a defense of its patrimony and valuables from the pretensions of the Austrian monarchy.