VII, 2011, 1

The Portraits of the Hegumens of the Putna Monastery. Several Observations | p. 123–144

hegumen, painting, picture, portrait, Putna Monastery


For almost two centuries, beginning with Jacob of Putna (1744–1745) and ending with Grigorie Volcinschi (1919–1931), the hegumens of the Putna Monastery were remembered through their painted or lithographed portraits. This tradition of representing high ecclesiastical figures of Orthodoxy – archimandrites and bishops of the Austrian Bukovina – was due largely to their patriotic and symbolic role for the Romanians in such an ethnically mixed province. Out of the 31 hegumens under study there came out 14 portraits, painted or lithographed, to which one can also add the four portraits of bishops of Bukovina preserved at the Putna Monastery. The rotation of the hegumens between the three monasteries still functioning under the Austrian regime – Putna, Suceviţa and Dragomirna –, their spiritual bonds and their leaders’ role in promoting Romanian culture and identity represent living instances of national spiritual resistance. The portraits under study are part of this testimony.