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PROJECT COORDINATOR: ”Moldova” National Museum Complex Iași, Romania

”Moldova” National Museum Complex Iași is a public institution of culture and research, under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, whose purpose is the research,  preservation, restoration and valorization of the national cultural heritage in the field of art, history, archaeology, science, technique and ethnography and has its headquarters inside the Palace of Culture in Iași, an effigy of the city. Designed in the spirit of the communal palaces in Western Europe, the Palace of Culture is the embodiment of several architectural styles: Neo-gothic, Romantic and Neo-baroque, strongly marking the architecture of Moldavia’s ancient capital.

The edifice, built between 1906-1925, on top of the ruins of the medieval princely courts, is the most important creation of the Romanian architect I.D. Berindei, who studied in  Paris. The building, inaugurated on the 11th of October 1925, served as a Palace of Justice and Administration until 1955, when it was destined to host some of the most important cultural institutions of the city of Iași, and of the country, nowadays reunited under the name of ”Moldova” National Museum Complex and where still function four renown museums: Moldavia’s History Museum, ”Ștefan Procopiu” Science and Technique Museum, the Art Museum and Moldavia’s Ethnographic Museum, as well as the Centre for Research and Conservation-Restoration of the Cultural Heritage.

The Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage

The regional laboratory for conservation – restoration has constantly extended its scope, has transformed its facilities into specialized equipments and installations by carrying out research projects, has engaged its specialists into the training of other series of restorers and conservators, to whom was entrusted the responsibility to contribute to the preservation of the heritage held by the museums within “Moldova” National Museum Complex and not solely.

In 2002, the Regional Laboratory for Restoration – Conservation became the Centre for Conservation and Restoration of the Cultural Heritage of Iasi, being accredited by the Ministry of Culture, in 2004. In 2009, it obtained the title of Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage, taking into account the participation of its specialists to national and international projects of fundamental and applied research, carrying on a long tradition in research, education, training and preservation of cultural heritage values, giving particular consideration to the safeguard of heritage goods, the documentation and publication of projects relevant for the cultural heritage, while focusing on a multidisciplinary collaboration.

The activity of the specialists working within the Regional Laboratory for restoration – conservation of Iasi and subsequently of the Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration, accredited as experts by the Ministry of Culture, has led to the safeguard of great cultural values in the collections of museums in Iasi, as well as of objects coming from the archaeological diggings of Cucuteni, Ruginoasa, the historical centre of Iasi, which later on were included in the Treasury category.

Also, the staff of the laboratory was involved in ample restoration actions of several heritage goods in the collections of major museums in the country, such as Peleș Museum, Cotroceni National Museum, Szekler Museum of Ciuc, the National History Museum of Romania, the National Art Museum of Romania, the History and Archaeology Museum of Prahova, the University Central Library of Iași, the Library of the Romanian Academy etc.

Nowadays, the Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage within “Moldova” National Museum Complex of Iasi has in its functional structure physical-chemical and biological investigations, restorations in the field of archaeology, history, ethnography and technique with regards to metals, ceramics, porcelain, glass, manuscripts, old book, parchment documents and paper, textiles, painting, wood and polychrome wood, leather and fur.

The Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage has succeeded over four decades of activity in the field of research, conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage, to implement new techniques of non-invasive investigations of the artefacts coming from museum and church collections, new materials and techniques of restoration and conservation, as well as strategies to monitor the state of conservation of the heritage objects.

The multi-qualified staff of the laboratory has a rich experience in the restoration, conservation and the scientific analysis of the artefacts, their expertise being available to all the State and private institutions, as well as to the non-professionals.

The Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration equally collaborates with university research laboratories and research institutes, with restoration – conservation laboratories within other national or international museums and communicates closely with specialists from the most prestigious laboratories and institutes in Europe (Centre de recherche et de restauration des musees de France, Centre de recherche sur la conservation des collections Paris, Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique Bruxelles, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works London, European Commission on Preservation and Access).

During 2002 – 2016, experts in investigation, restoration and conservation of the Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage were involved in the development of two European projects and 15 national projects of fundamental and applied research, they obtained four patents, they published over 10 volumes of restoration – conservation and edited, in 2003, the biannual bilingual publication “The Bulletin of the Centre for Restoration – Conservation of Iasi”.

Apart from the national and European projects, the Centre for Research and Conservation – Restoration of the Cultural Heritage has expanded its activity of research in the field of expertise and restoration – conservation of the cultural heritage through the purchase of ultra-performing equipments and by founding the Expertise Centre for the Conservation – Restoration of Artworks, aiming to line up to the European research advanced system, to approach a national and European research field, to draw the attention of the best researchers and of the most promising PhD students in order to embrace the researcher career and to foster international cooperation.

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PARTNER: Căpriana Monastery dedicated to the”Assumption of Virgin Mary”, Strășeni District, Republic of Moldova

Căpriana Monastery, with the status of princely monastery acquired before 1429, caught the attention of several princes of Moldova, among which Alexander the Great, Stephen the Great, Alexandru Lăpușneanu and Vasile Lupu. The first documentary mention of Căpriana Monastery is represented by a document issued by the Chancellery of Prince Alexander the Good on the 25th of April 1420, through which the prince of Moldavia bestows to Vornic Oană a broad estate for his ”right and loyal service”. ”Chiprian’s clearing” is also mentioned as border.

According to the latest researches, the actual hearth of Căpriana Monastery is attributed to the reign of Stephen the Great, as its initial hearth, documented during the reign of Alexander the Good, is abandoned.

In this context, dating the oldest church of wall within the Monastic Complex of Căpriana by the latest studies is reassessed, being accepted the dating to the period of the reign of Stephen the Great (1491-1496).

Throughout the centuries, the ”Assumption of Virgin Mary” Church of Căpriana suffered several changes. In this regard, the archaeological researches performed starting with 1993 brought significant historical testimonies. It was discovered that the 16th century church, attributed to Petru Rareș (1514), is superposed to an older church, dated to the 15th century.

The archaeological researches performed during 1993-2016 brought new historical testimonies, extremely important for the history of Căpriana Monastery.

Thus, we can talk about the existence, on the same spot, within Căpriana Monastery, of two distinct churches: Church no. 1, built between 1491 and 1495 and Church no. 2, built between 1540 and 1541 and restored between 1818 and 1820 by Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni.

Modified during the period of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni, the ”Assumption of Virgin Mary” Church preserves several of its defining characteristics, stylistically typical to the group of Moldavian monastic religious monuments to which it belongs: a triconch plan church, with a steeple raised above the arch of the nave. Its inner compartmentalization outlines its belonging to the type of Moldavian plan from the 15th-16th centuries.

Within the Monastic Complex of Căpriana there are 3 churches: ”Assumption of Virgin Mary”, ”St. Nicholas Chapel” and ” St. Great Martyr George”. The oldest one is the ”Assumption of Virgin Mary” dated to the period of the reign of Stephen the Great (1491-1496), according to the latest researches; in 1818, in the proximity of the princely church, which was being reconstructed at that time, at the initiative of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni, ”St. George” Church was erected, which was rebuilt in 1840 on the old site, presently known as ”St. Nicholas” Chapel; the patron of the church of 1818 (”St. George”) was changed because in the period 1903-1905, at Căpriana, a new holy place was built dedicated to ”St. Great Martyr George”. The new place is a Neo-byzantine cathedral, shaped as a Greek cross, with a square altar and a nave with square lateral apses. The name of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni is tightly connected to the Monastic Complex of Căpriana.

Grigore Bănulescu, the future Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni, was born in 1746, in the family of Grigorie and Anastasia Bănulescu-Bodoni, in the city of Bistrița, Romania. The future metropolitan distinguished himself as a true scholar, a connoisseur of theology and of several ancient languages, including Latin, Greek and Old Slavic, which allowed him to practice pedagogy and to manage institutions of religious education, both in Moldavia and within the Russian Empire. Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni went through all the stages of monasticism.

Among his special merits, it should be mentioned the organization of the theological education, through the foundation of the Theological Seminary and the support of the liturgical life, through the opening of a typography. The importance of this typography for the spiritual and cultural life of the Bessarabians was really great, as they had the possibility to read books in their native language, books translated mostly by Metropolitan Gavriil. Another great achievement was the printing of the Bible and of the New Testament, in Romanian, at his solicitation. During his pastorate, more than 200 churches were built in Chișinău, being endowed with everything necessary. He died on the 30th of March 1821 and was buried at Căpriana Monastery.

The archaeological researches, performed in August 2016 at Căpriana Monastery, Republic of Moldova, were carried out in the context of the canonization procedure of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni. The archaeological inventory of the tomb was rich, comprising a varied typology of artefacts which were preserved-restored by the specialists of the Centre for Research and Conservation-Restoration of the Cultural Heritage within ”Moldova” National Museum Complex Iași, based on a programme financed by Căpriana Monastery, by own funds, with the support of Archimandrite FILARET (Iurie Dionisie Cuzmin).

At Căpriana Monastery, ample archaeological diggings were performed, conducted by PhD. Prof. Hab. Gheorghe Postică, within the restoration projects of 2001-2003, 2005-2015 and 2016. Starting with 2002, at the initiative of archimandrite FILARET Cuzmin (Iurie Dionisie Cuzmin), the abbot of the holy monastery, with the approval of the Orthodox Church of Moldova and of the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Moldova, the following major projects were initiated: The Consolidation and the Restoration of the Oldest Place of Worship, the Assumption of Virgin Mary Church; between 2001-2003, with a budget of $70,000;  The Restoration of ”St. George” Church (1903-1905), of the abbot’s house, of the archimandrite’s house, as well as of the multiple works for the sewage and drinking water networks and the construction of a two-storey building for the monks in the monastery, between 2003 and 2005, with a budget of € 3,000,000; Archaeological researches for the safeguard of artefacts within the tomb of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni, in 2016 with a budget of € 200,000.