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Fragment from “Constatin Brâncoveanu – Parable of the Saved Rich Man” by

Doina Mândru

Included in the album Constantin Brâncoveanu, The power of Vision

A moral dilemma remains – that of an iconography of these martyrs [Brâncoveanu Saints] that has been wanting for three centuries. Was the Brâncoveanus’ example overwhelming? Has the Romanians’ nature, eternally bowed under the tide of time, become too subservient? Where documents abound a cold silence inexplicably falls upon historical commentary. If thought itself stops in its tracks from fear that renouncing one’s faith or being condemned to martyrdom could, alas, at any time become present, then Elena Murariu’s sacrificial gesture comes to heal this deaf, guilty silence by inviting us to contemplate the eternal effigies of the blessed Brâncoveanu Saints. 

Their visages came into Elena Murariu’s soul as the face of Jesus appeared on the Mandylion, and she saw them flickering on willow boughs of light just as she had looked, with equal delight, at the faces of Jesus’ ancestors painted in a ring on the columns of Hurezi Monastery’s pronaos or on those at Motru or Snagov Monasteries. She then beheld them sparkle in the greenness of the fir, jewels of the Garden of Eden, wreathing the sky’s column that hoists up the world’s horizontal axis. 

Elena Murariu restores the disembodied iconic faces of the Brâncoveanus in Oltenia’s imaginary and further transfers them onto the funeral pillars placed by the side of the road to remember the passing away of the deceased, pillars that guard the spirit’s wakefulness. 

Returning to the historical fixation on riches which have ultimately caused so much suffering, we will understand that with the Brâncoveanus we have before us the parable of the saved rich man, he who in the end consents to cast aside all his belongings save his soul in order to walk through the narrow door.

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