CENTRUL DE CULTURĂ „BRĂTIANU”
Instituție de cultură finanțată de Consiliul Județean Argeș
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Home History St. John the Baptist Church

THE BRĂTIANU’S CHAPEL

           Another component of the assembly in Florica is the church where most of Brătianu family members are buried. Situated on a plateau on the right of the park, on the border of the forest, the Bratianus chapel - dedicated to the "Birth of Saint John the Baptist" - was built in 1898 by the French architect André Lecomte du Nouy. The church is monumental, being entirely constructed of Albeşti stone. The cross-shaped church has a single spire, which has a square base and hexagonal otherwise, initially wrapped in brass sheet (which foreign occupiers took during the first World War) and then in gutter tiles which are still present. Access to the open porch is made by means of two rows of Albeşti stone stairs, on the side, with railings, supported by narrow columns. The porch is supported by two front columns and two complex pillars which include columns, as well as the pronaos. These have beautiful capitals, between which semicircular arches interpose. The church is girded all around by a twisted frieze which consists of three parts, and the absides present outside a series of cornice panels. Between them and the eave there is a series of niches in which are painted the faces of prophets and poets, and on the frontispiece there are painted St. John the Baptist, the patron of the church, and St. Pavel the Apostle, on the right, and St. Peter the Apostle, on the left. 

           The side frames of the entrance doors to the church have sculptural decorative patterns of a particular refinement. The porch vault is semi-cylindrical and cross, with a spherical dome of modest sizes in the middle. The altar apse is semi-circular on the inside and polygonal on the outside and the vault is curved in such a way that it becomes semi-cylindrical towards the iconostasis, and on the axis of the church it has a large window and a small one in the deep niche of the altar. The wooden iconostasis shows two registers with icons. The nave widens sharply through the two side absides, which are semicircular on the inside and pentagonal on the outside, showing two windows each, and the open tower is cylindrical, being illuminated by eight small windows. The narthex is short, with a semi-cylindrical vault. The church has never been painted and under the porch, on the southern side, there are the access doors to the Brătianu family tombs. In 1953 it became a chrism church.

           The church was consecrated on May 19, 1921, in view of translating the coffin of Ion C. Brătianu into the new chapel, a ceremony which took place three days later; The service was officiated by metropolitans Miron Cristea – the first Patriarch of Romania – and Nicolae Balan of Sibiu; (at first, Ion C. Brătianu, who died on May 3, 1891, had been buried in the park of the mansion, on the hill, in a crypt constructed under the supervision of Eugen Carada, close to Florica, his first child, whom a relentless disease kidnapped from the family in the winter of 1865). "The parents’ pain was terrible and never deleted" remembered her sister, Sabina Cantacuzino.

           The second solemn funeral which took place in the chapel at Florica was that of Ionel Brătianu, killed suddenly by an infection of the tonsils, on the 24th of November 1927.

           "At Florica, the coffin was placed in a chariot drawn by oxen; on that dark and misty winter day, the convoy, followed by a large crowd of friends, authorities and villagers, slowly climbed the hill to the chapel ... Brătianu went to sleep his eternal sleep after such a brilliant life in the history of his people, on the same hill where, 63 years before, he had seen the light of the day. He was born at Florica in the period of the vassal Romania and "he rests in peace still at Florica but in the period of the unified Romania". (I. G. Duca)

             Three years later, on the 22nd of December 1930, Vintilă Brătianu will also be buried in the crypts of Florica; Dinu and Gheorghe Brătianu, who had died in prison at Sighet, will also be buried, years later, in the family chapel.

           In 1907, Ion I.C. Brătianu was on a trip to Transylvania; on this occasion he discovered Horea’s wooden church in an advanced state of decay. Upon learning that the authorities intend to destroy it, Ionel Brătianu bought it and transported it by train to Florica, where it was rebuilt and restored. It was set in the park from Florica where it remained until 1954 when it was moved to Olăneşti, in Valcea County. Ionel Brătianu intended to turn it into a folk museum, of Romanian traditions.

         "The Liberals' Mecca”, the mansion from Florica made ​​history also thanks to poet Ion Pillat, who wrote many poems on its terraces.

           The mansion at Florica is worth visiting for any lover of our history; a visit here will be a meeting for anyone with history itself.

           "Florica was not only the background in which the whole sweet childhood, the cheerful youth were evoked, but sometimes it seemed to be alive, to have a soul conceived of all our souls, of the dead’s and the living’s  ". (Sabina Cantacuzino)

 

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