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Japca Monastery

Country: Moldova      Region: North Region

The Japca Monastery, situated on the shore of Nistru River at the distance of 10km from Camenca town, is the only monastery from Basarabia which was never closed by the Soviet authorities.

This monastery has a rare location due to the beauty of the horizon that gladdens tourists’ eyes. The rocks above the monastery, but especially above the old hermitage, the Nistru windings, which can be seen from far away, the gardens that surrounds it, makes up the special beauty of the monastery.

The Japca locality dates back to the 17th century. According to the majority of the records, the estate and the hermitage are named Japca, some named Jabca or even Sabca.

The first mention about the hermitage dates to the 25th of May, 1693; not being registered in other historical records, this date remains a disputable one.

A.Zasciuc says the foundation stone of the hermitage was put by hieromonk Iezechiil, who came from Lemberg in the 17th century. According to other records, this monk came from Deleni Monastery of Moldova. He lived in the woods, at the top of the hill, where he had built a little church and some cells in stone dedicated to The Raise of the Saint Cross festival.

According to some sources from the archive, the hermitage existed before 1764. There is a document which refers to a trial in 1796, when abbot Teodosie brought as witness hieromonk Nicodim who lived before him in the hermitage. On the other hand, freeholder’s estate Japca isn’t that old, because the elder people which owned the lands: Budeci, Malai-Rau and Furdui, had lived during the supervision of Constantin-Voda Mavrocordat (1733-1735; 1741-1743; 1748-1749). It can be concluded from here that before 1764 the hermitage was not well organized yet. Being accepted by most of historicists, 1770 is the

Foundation year of the church, the time when the monks left their cells built in stone and settled down the hill, where the actual monastery is standing now.

Hieromonk Nicandru, who came to Japca from the Metropolitan Church of Iasi, was Teodosie’s successor in the period 1808- 1810.

Hieromonk Calist was the lead of the hermitage along the years 1810-1818. In 1818 Japca hermitage got the statute of monastery.

During World War I many nuns had taken refuge from the Russian Poland to Lesna Monastery near the hill. Based on the decision of Saint Sinod from Sankt-Petersburg, beginning with the 20th of April, 1916, archbishop Atanasie of Basarabia told the nuns from the Lesna Monastery to settle to the Japca one. And, the monks were transferred to the Harjauca Monastery.

In 1940 the nuns and sisters had been chased away from the monastery, the authorities from Japca locality with the Soviets permission, confiscated all the fortune of the saint place. Still, in 1941 with the arrival of the Romanian army, the nuns came back to the monastery and got back all the goods.

The summer church built in 1915 has three sanctuaries situated in the East side: centre-Raise of God festival, right-Changing of the Face, left- Saint Cross.

Japca Monastery follows Russian rules and traditions. Here, nobody eats meat and the Psalm book is read.

The tourists who visit this monastery are impressed by the conservatism that reigns all the place - there is no electric power, because it is considered to be evil, and the tourists from abroad are welcomed with suspicion and coldness.