During the sixteenth century, the princes of Moldavia, a region of modern Romania, built many churches and monasteries. These churches followed the typical Byzantine style by placing detailed frescos on the interior walls, but some of the Moldavian churches took that tradition even further and expanded the frescos to the façade. This thesis argues that these exterior images were used to enhance the Easter processionals that occurred around the churches. While most scholars explain this phenomenon as propaganda or a cry for help against the Ottoman Empire, a new interpretation is offered here. It discusses how the exterior scenes on the churches depict different sections of the Orthodox Lenten Services that occur during the ten weeks prior to Easter, the most important feast day in the Orthodox calendar. Four of these painted monasteries, Voroneţ, built in 1488 and painted in 1547, Humor, built in 1530 and painted in 1534, Moldoviţa, built in 1532 and painted in 1537, and Suceviţa, built in 1582 and painted in 1595, are analyzed to show the link between these feast days and the frescos. The paper connects Moldavia to the Byzantine Empire, showing a long tradition of supporting the Orthodox faith. The history of frescos. The paper connects Moldavia to the Byzantine Empire, showing a long tradition of supporting the Orthodox faith. The history of different religious processions performed throughout the Orthodox year during the Byzantine Empire are discussed in conjunction with their survival in Moldavia after the Empire fell. The study concludes that the exterior frescos on the Moldavian churches enhanced the Orthodox processionals that took place during Easter week.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McVey, Mollie Elizabeth, "Beyond the Walls: The Easter Processional on the Exterior Frescos of Moldavian Monastery Churches" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 1822.
art, Romania, Moldavia, byzantine, monasteries, Easter, processionals, exterior frescos