Putna in the light of historical sources
“Unlike other Moldovan lands mentioned in documents, long before the construction of churches and monasteries on their contents, Putna, as toponimic or hydronyms of the old land of Suceava is not mentioned in any document previously the founding of the monastery with the same name, respectively, year1466. It appears frequently, however, the other Putna in Vrancea county, especially in the documents from the time of Alexandru cel Bun, but also from some of his followers. The finding can not, however, require firm conclusion that the area Putna Valley, a mountain stream that flows under Obcina Mare and slips quickly towards the calm waters of Suceava, meeting them in the village of Laura, was totally uninhabited until the middle of the fifteenth century. On the contrary, numerous churches certified in the first decades of this century, in places in the immediate vicinity of Putna, constitute as many testimonies that the area knew, even back then, a remarkable religious life and that Stephen the Great (Ştefan cel Mare) followed the tradition, building his monastery around an old church.
From his documents from 15 March 1490, it results that during the reign of Alexander the Good (Alexandru cel Bun) only in Suceava county there were “fifty churches with their priests,” under the diocese of Radauti, subject of which, in his time, six were “turned and dedicated to listen to the monastery (…) Putna, because those churches and those priests are from the monastery villages “. They were, of course, parish churches of the village, but there certainly, close to Putna, existed in the first quarter of the fifteenth century and a monastery. This is mentioned in a deed forever from August 18, 1427 through which Alexander the Good (Alexandru cel Bun) was showing mercy to Laţcu and Herman brothers, strengthening their “mastering (…), where their house is, at Voitinu, where it comes out of the forest and meadow and where their monastery and old mowing place is… “.
If we add the traditions, regarding the existence of an ancient monastery on the current territory of Laura village,where Daniil the Hermit could have lived for a while, at these rigorously documented evidence, and also the evidence regarding the previous hermitage from the Cattle valley and an wooden church that would have been found right on the hill of Zion, the arguments in favor of founding this foundation, in an area with ancient monastic traditions, grow significantly.
But lets stick to historical sources, the Old Letter, with historical, anonymous character of Moldova, says that after the conquest of Chile Fortress, in January 1465, Stephen the Great (Ştefan cel Mare) came back with the full army to Suceava, commanding to the bishops, mitropolitan and all the priests “to thank God for his gifts to him … “. It is not specified how this Thanksgiving should be concretized, but given the importance the voivode himself attached to this victory, it is assumed that it was going to be as the event. Things are clarified, moreover, in the Annals (Writing history when events are recorded year by year in the life of a nation important) of Putna and Moldovan-Polish Chronicle, where, immediately after the success account of Chile, is very concisely stated that on the July 10, 1466 Stefan – Voda began to build Putna monastery, dedicated to “Theotokos”.
The archaeological researches, from the years 1955-1956, led to the conclusion that at the Putna monastery there are no vestiges of humanity “earlier than the constructions in stone in the time of Stephen the Great” and that “at their arrival, the builders have cleared the land by burning, revealing above the living soil a streak of ash and coal, and even sporadically charred tree trunks.”
The latest researches in the same way, elaborated in the years 1980 – 1982, could lead to the conclusion that even on the present territory of the monastery there was a monastic settlement anteştefaniană as towards the southern side of the enclosure, besides the king’s house foundations built by Stephen the Great (Ştefan cel Mare), there were discovered several graves, which by their stratigraphic position would pleed in this way.”
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