The Zamfira monastic settlement located 15 km far from Ploiesti has received non-reimbursable funds in order to be restored. The contract was recently concluded, the project aiming to highlight the mural painting of the Big Church of the Zamfira Monastery; its uniqueness is given by the fact that it is the only one made “in fresco” by the great painter Nicolae Grigorescu.
In mid-October, at the headquarters of the Sud Muntenia Development Agency, the financing contract was concluded for the project entitled “Consolidation, restoration, preservation and valorization of the architecture and the mural painting of the Big Church of the Zamfira Monastery, Prahova County – made ‘a fresco’ by Nicolae Grigorescu”. By this contract, Zamfira Monastery, as the beneficiary, received non-reimbursable funding under the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020. The total value of the funding is RON 19,555,986.32, of which RON 16,622,588.37 are FEDR non-reimbursable funds, the rest of the amount being provided from the state budget. The works will last until the end of March, 2019, and they are related to the restoration, consolidation, valorization and highlighting the Church “Inaltarea Domnului” (“The Ascension of God” – e.n.) and “Sf. Nifon” – Mare (The Big “St. Nifon” – e.n.), a historical monument of Class A, of a national and international values, part of the Zamfira Monastery Ensemble from the Lipanesti Commune, Prahova County. Through the EU funds, it is pursued to capitalize the historical and touristic potential of this patrimony objective, by protecting and revitalizing the unique painting made ‘a fresco’ by Nicolae Grigorescu. The uniqueness of the worship establishment comes from the artistic beauty and importance of the painting, given that this church is the first worship establishment fully painted by Nicolae Grigorescu when he was 18, being helped also by his brother, Gheorghe Grigorescu; the uniqueness is given by the fact that it is the only one made “in fresco” by the great painter. Both the mural painting and the icons of the iconostasis were made between 1856 and 1857.
Over the time, the painting of the Big Church was subject to several restoration works. Thus, in 1904, the Metropolitan Ghenadie Petrescu initiated the painting in oil over the one made by Nicolae Grigorescu; the author was the painter Toma Vintilescu; between 1951 and 1953, painters Gheorghe Vanatoru and Constantin Calinescu made repainting in tempera. The last and the real restoration was made between 1986 and 1989, when the painter Ion Chiriac removes all the paintings by cutting and reveals the original painting of Nicolae Grigorescu, intervening where it was absolutely necessarily. We have to mention that this architectonic jewel is compared by those who described it over the time with a beautiful white shrine.
The allocation of funds for this monastic complex is the result of the approaches started years ago. Since 2015, specialists in art made a call to all the responsible officials – governmental, administrative, ecclesiastical officials, etc., in order to save the Zamfira Monastery, which was in an advanced degradation. The necessity of the investments was invoked due to the fact that the infiltrations in the area of the tower affected a part of the painting made by Nicolae Grigorescu, endangering the whole construction. At the same time, the interior of the church is affected by dampness, and the gorgeous iconostasis painted by Nicolae Grigorescu degraded in its turn, requiring extensive restoration works.
We mention that the name of the Zamfira Monastery comes from the donor of the land on which the construction of this monastic settlement was started, namely Master Zamfira. Being a widow since she was a young woman, in 1714, because her husband, a trusted man of Constantin Brancoveanu, was killed by the Turks, the master started to build the church dedicated to the Holy Trinity around 1716-1720; the church was finished by her daughter-in-law Smaranda.