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Humor Monastery

The monastic community was refounded Hotels in Humor in 1992, and in 1993, together with six other churches with exterior frescoes, the church of Humor was included in the World Heritage List The monastery of Humor is up the Humor River, near the town of Gura Humorului, among wooded hills. Around it, in the river valley, the village has grown that bears the name of the monastery, Manastirea Humorului.


Bucovina Map - Humor Monastery

Year Built: 1530
Built by: Great Chancellor Toader Bubuiog
Location: Humor, Suceava County
Summary:The Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin is without the tower typical to the churches of the region, as it was built by a nobleman, and not by a ruling prince. Its open exonarthex is the first of its kind in Bucovina.

Humor Monastery

The church of Humor seen from the east.

The ruins of the first church of Humor Monastery, or Homor, as it was known at that time, are about 500 m down the road. A document issued by Alexander the Kind in 1415 confirmed that Judge Ivan (Oana) had built a monastery in Homor. Judge Ivan was a wealthy boyar who also had houses and a stone church in Tulova. The ruins show a small monastic church with three apses, and possibly a dome above the naos, as indicated by the massive supporting pilasters in the corners of the room. A square pronaos was added to the structure some time later. The church was built of massive blocks of stone, decorated outside with enamelled ceramic discs and painted inside, as fragments of paint recovered by archaeologists show.

Humor Monastery

The church of Humor seen from the south-west.

During the 15th century, Humor was among the most important monasteries in the country. In 1483 Stephen the Great ordered calligrapher Nicodim, monk of the Putna Monastery, to copy The Four Gospels, a manuscript decorated with miniatures. The model was the manuscript of Gavril Uric, made in 1429, but The Four Gospels of Humor includes a unique portrait of the Prince kneeling in front of the Holy Virgin and the Child. Some years later, the manuscript was bound in hammered silver.
It is not known why a monastery of such importance was ruined. But many other monasteries faced the same fate around the same time. It is possible that some kind of disaster caused their partial collapse during the 3rd decade of the 16th century.

Humor Monastery

The Last Judgment seen through the window openings of the west façade.

The open exonarthex of the Humor church is the first of its kind in Bucovina, and later imitated only in the architecture of the church of Moldoviţa. Already in the last decade of the 15th century, the church of Balinesti had been built with a small open porch on the south side of the building. In 1522, only eight years before Humor, the church of Parhauti had been built with a two-storeyed open exonarthex, which due to its lower roof and only two openings at ground level, seems a closed space. Humor, where the four big openings limit a larger part of the exonarthex than the pillars between them, is truly an open space, a transitional area between the exterior and the interior.
The east wall and the vault of the exonarthex are reserved for a single ample composition, The Last Judgment, following the example of the St. Nicholas Church of Probota. The noble figure of Christ is Adam and Eve. Below them is the Hand of God holding the scales to weigh the souls, and the Archangel Michael defending poor souls from the devils. The whole left side of the wall shows on three registers groups of Righteous, Saints, Holy Women, Martyrs and Prophets . St. Peter is leading them towards Paradise , a garden on a white background, where the Virgin Mary and the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, wait for the saved souls.

Humor Monastery

The entrance to the open exonarthex is framed with scenes of saints and holy men.

Petru Rareş started to rebuild the older ruined churches. In 1530, the same year he started building his burial place in Probota, also the construction of a new church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, was begun in Humor. The initiative seems to have been of Rareş, as stated on the commemorative inscription on the south façade of the church, but the new founder was a nobleman, the Great Chancellor Toader, named in later documents Bubuiog or Boboiog. He was married to Anastasia, the daughter of the highest nobleman in Stephen the Great’s court, Chancellor Ioan Tăutu, founder of Balinesti Church.
Anastasia is portrayed as a small child on the votive painting of Bălineşti. All that is known about Toader Bubuiog is that he was very faithful to Stephen the Great, and then to his successors Bogdan II, Stefanita and Petru Rareş,and that he was sent on missions to neighbouring sovereigns. The monastery was plundered several times during the next centuries, as recorded in The Four Gospelsof Humor, which itself was stolen several times and always bought back.
The most well-known raid was led by the son-inlaw of Prince Vasile Lupu in 1653, during a power struggle between the prince and his rival to the throne.

Humor Monastery

One recently restored 16th century Imperial icon: The Assumption of the Holy Virgin.

Vasile Lupu had already fortified the monastery in 1641, by building a precinct wall and a tall watch tower, the only part still remaining of the defences. Seemingly, they were not of much help.
In 1775, the new Austrian administration of Bucovina abolished the monastery. The church was transformed into a parish church, and the monastic buildings were abandoned and ruined. In the 1980s, a new church was built for the parish of the village, and the former monastery church was opened for visits. Although the church of the Assumption of the Virgin is not smaller than the other painted churches, the absence of the tower and the comparatively low roofline give the impression of reduced dimensions. On the façades can be found all the themes that are also found on the façades of the other churches painted during the reigns of Petru Rareş.
Obviously, the very well preserved frescoes on the south façade have assured the fame of Humor. Only the lowest register has been eroded.A row of niches runs all around the church, in which are depicted Angels. Between the niches ae Seraphs.

Humor is 6 km north of Gura Humorului on DJ 177. In Gura Humorului you can find accommodations and travel information. Gura Humorului can be reached by railway after a 47 km ride from Suceava and 32 km from Câmpulung Moldovenesc, while by road the distance on E 58 is 36 km to both Suceava and Câmpulung Moldovenesc. Suceava can be reached on the main European roads E85, E58, but also on the railway Bucharest-Chernivtsi-Lvov or by air. The city has an airport with flights to Bucharest and even abroad.


Hotels in Humor

Address: Manastirea Humorului commune, 727355, Suceava County
Phone: + 40 (230) 231411;
Mobil: +40 (744) 827316;

Bucovina Travel Guide