The Monastery of Tiganesti
Monastery of monks
Monk Superior: Archimandrite Irinarh (Costru)
Location: Tiganesti village, Straseni district, about 35 km NV off Chisinau
The monastery of Tiganesti was founded in 1725 by boyar Lupu Dencu and by free peasants from the village of Cobalca (now Codreanca), who built a wooden church in order to offer spiritual and physical shelter to Christians hiding away from the tatar invasion.
The first monk superior of the monastery was Hieromonk Samuel. He left to the monks a charter indicating the boundaries of the monastery’s property, with his signature.
In 1846, in the place of the old wooden church of the Dormition of the Theotokos built over a century before, with the money donated by Christians, a new stone church was built, under the administration of hieromonk Victor. In 1840, the construction of the winter St. Nicholas church started. The construction of the church, built in Moldovan style, was mainly supported of a merchant from Chisinau, and ended in 1868, under the administration of monk superior Ghedeon. Also around this time the monastery was donated a metochion house in Chisinau.
The property of the monastery increased considerably by 1918. Household and administrative buildings, a guests house were built, a rich library was created in the monastery.
During the Second World War hundreds of soldiers were buried in the monastery’s cemetery – Romanians, Germans, Russians.
After the war the soviet authorities made several attempts to close the monastery. Thus, in 1945, a captain with several soldiers came to the monastery with the intention to close it, and were very hospitably received by the monk superior Ioachim Burlea. It is said that seeing the pious monastic life and pacified by the monks’ hospitality, they peacefully left the holy settlement.
However, in 1959 the local authorities forcedly sent the novices to their homes, and after a year persecutions against the monks started. The monk superior Ioachim was sent to his native village Bravicea – he was the last to leave the monastery. The icons and the books of the monastery were burnt, the cemetery vandalized. The only icon saved was that of Holy Great-Martyr Patelimon, with a particle of his holy relics. This icon had been donated to the monastery by Bishop of Chisinau and Hotin Seraphim Chichagov in 1909.
After the monastery’s closure in 1960-1961, its buildings were used for a hospital of physically-challenged people. The summer church of the Dormition of the Theotokos was transformed into a hospital storage house for medicines and laudry. The winter church of St. Nicholas was made wardroom for patients.
After 1961 the monastery was reorganized into hospital for mentally ill persons. It has been used as psychiatry hospital till 1992.
On the 8th of September 1992 the monastery of Tiganesti was reopened. It presented a pitiful picture at that time – the monastic complex was virtually devastated, as the buildings had never been repaired since the closure of the holy settlement. Remaining jobless, the staff of the hospital stole everything they could steel, causing even deeper destruction. The roof of the summer church was severely deteriorated, the rains considerably damaged the church walls, causing multiple cracks. The monks’ cells and other buildings needed urgent restoration.
The first monk superior of the revived monastery was Archimandrite Artemie Bocsa, who came from the Capriana Monastery in 1992 and administrated the holy settlement for two years. He was succeeded by Archimandrite Donat, and then by Hieromonk Irinarh (Costru), who has been presiding the monastic community for already 15 years.
Under his administration, the summer church of the Dormition of the Theotokos was restored in 1998. It is built in the Russian rectangular style. The church has two gothic towers, one above the church pronaos, and the other above the naos.
In the present there are three churches in the monastery. The third church was built in 2009, and sanctified in the honour of the miracle-working icon of the Mother of the Lord of The Life-Giving Spring. It is situated above the monastery’s spring.
The Monastery has a rich library that includes books over one hundred years old.