Suceviţa Monastery


Suceviţa Monastery (built 1582–1601) is the largest Bucovina monastery, and some regard it as the finest. It's perhaps best known for its exterior Ladder of Virtues fresco, with its 32 steps to heaven, near the main entry. It exhorts priests to righteous behaviour and to avoid the unfortunate fate of the clerics depicted tumbling from the ladder due to sins such as greed or vanity. The church's tomb room contains the coffins of monastery founders Simion and Ieremia Movilă.

The continuity of the Old and New Testaments is emphasised on the southern exterior wall, where a tree grows from the reclining figure of Jesse, flanked by ancient Greek philosophers. The Virgin, depicted as a Byzantine princess, stands nearby, with angels holding a red veil over her head. More good cheer appears on the porch's south-side archway, where frescoes depict the Apocalypse and the dark visions of St John in Revelations. The western wall is bare. Legend says the fatal plunge of the artist from the scaffolding there dissuaded other painters.

Suceviţa was the last painted monastery built. Ieremia Movilă (d 1606) is depicted with his seven children on the western wall. The monastery's museum exhibits various treasures and art pieces.

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