Inside the Monastery

The threshold is situated higher than the rest of the assembly, so that to enter the building one has to climb seven stairs, followed by other seven stairs that give the impression of an elevation, and offering certain delimitation between the parts of the church. The number seven is an important symbol in the Holy Scripture and refers to the seven days of Creation, the seven Mysteries of the Orthodox religion and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The element that catches the eye even from the entrance is the special “ribs network” that enrich the dome, inspired by the gothic style in the West, approved by the Bishop Anastasie Crimca.The windows are in Gothic style, the stone church tower has vegetable and geometric ornaments – amazing, exotic carving, embroidery. The Traditional polychromy is replaced by the magnificently carved stone.Initially, the ornamentations were colourful and golden as it can be observed in some places.

Dragomirna does not own a chamber of tombs, but the threshold there are some burial stones, their sculpture is of great simplicity, opposed to the rich ornamentation on the dome. The first three stones have inscriptions in Slavonian, mostly unreadable, holding the dates 1673 and 1680.

The oldest burial stone is a marbel ledger with a Greek inscription, dating back from the second, the first century B.C., in an unidentified town on the shores of Pontus Euxin, in the honour of an architect, Epicrates, the son of Nicovolus from Bizant. 

According to the Tradition, it is believed that under that stone is buried a certain Dima, considered to be the legendary builder of Dragomirna, although the story is not based on real facts, being merely a fantasy.The last burial stone, having on its upper part a representation of the two regions Moldavia and Ţara Româneasca, an emblem surrounded by bay laurel, symbols of the day and of the night, birds and flowers, covers the tomb of Maria Blaj, dead in 1770, the daughter of Constantin Mavrocordat, a former ruler of the two countries.

From the threshold to the Preaisle area one has to pass a porch built in the Gothic style. The Preaisle impresses the viewer through the way it is built, forming a décor with eight broken arches. There is no part of the dome or arch that does not hold the pattern of a herringbone rope. The two domes, of different size, are built inseide a square, obtained through puttind the arches one upon the other, forming true stone embroidery. When they cross, they form rosettes with floral ornaments and shields.

This whole decoration is perhaps the most sophisticated of the ones on the Moldavian domes. In the Preaisle, on the right side there can be seen a burial stone, higher than the rest of the floor, having no inscription.

This stone covers the earthly remains of the Bishop founder of the church.On the left side of the Preaisle there is the canopy with the Holy relics of Saint Jacob the Persian. Well illuminated through two windows on each side, the second chamber of the church is separated from the naos by a wall with three ambulatories and  two columns on the extreme part.

Thus, between the Preaisle and the Aisle there has been created a space that enables the viewer to see the Altar and the ceremonies.

The Aisle two stairs above the Preaisle and as an extend to it, having the same length is the largest of the church’s chambers. On the south and north sides open the usual lateral apses, a semicircular dent, having the same bulk as the wall, without being seen on the outside. The “pentocrator” steeple dominates the outer part, and, though delicate and slim, it resembles the top of a pyramid.

The steeple is round on the inside and octagonal on the outside and holds its weight on four great arches, having the same characteristics of the herringbone rope, supported by huge bracket. Through the ingenious system of the arches, also used in the Preaisle,there is built a passway between the  round perimeter of the steeple’s walls, which give certain elegancy and slimness to the steeple.

The Altar, placed higher than the Aisle (Naos) closes the progressive elevation of the chambers. Of regular, semiround shape, covered by a dome, sphere-shaped, the chamber is illuminted by three big windows, widely opened onto the inside.

The length of the Altar reduces gradually through three consecutive “rezalite” ( part of the wall that is higher that the rest so as to represent a certain structure of the building’s plan, a certain composition~German “risalit”) seen from outside as three telescopic arches. This whole architectural composition underlines the gradual narrowness of the Altar’s space, high-lighting its role as an essential element of the building.