The “Stephen the Great” Research and Documentation Centre of the Holy Putna Monastery was established on January 2, 2005, with the blessing of His Eminence Pimen, Archbishop of Suceava and Rădăuţi.
Its establishment was not the work of chance. While 2215 pages, grouped into six volumes, were being prepared for printing and an international symposium was being organized – all under the sign of the “Holy Stephen the Great” commemorative year -, the need was felt here, at Putna, for setting up a structure meant to stir and maintain the interest in the knowledge of our past, so that it may intensify research in this direction. This is how we came up with the idea of creating a centre whose scientific priorities are the epoch of the Blessed Voivode Stephen the Great, as well as the history of the Putna Monastery.
Thus formulated, these objectives may seem quite modest. However, the epoch of Stephen the Great is not confined to the period between 1457 and 1504, but rather to a longer one, deeply marked by the personality of this great ruler, and covering also the reign of his immediate successors, Bogdan III and Stephen the Young, who are buried at Putna. As to the history of the Putna Monastery, a sharp focus will be placed not only upon the events which this monastic establishment has been passing through or has witnessed ever since its early days up to the present time, but also – and especially – upon its role in the creation of our mediaeval culture, in the Romanian renewal and in the fostering of our national feelings.
The centre will have its own library which will hold originals or copies of papers old and new that are related to the themes laid down, and published in our country or abroad. At the same time, it will gather collections of sources (documents, coins, medals, archaeological evidence etc.) as well as a digital image archive. Thus, the “Stephen the Great” Centre will become an essential institution to those researchers whose efforts are directed towards the aims stated before, since they will be able to find both sources and a rich bibliography all gathered in the same place. The results of such endeavors will be made public in scientific symposia organized here, at Putna, or outside the monastery, in academic and university centres. Later on, these will make up volumes (continuing the series of the ones published in 2003-2004) or will be used as material for our journal, The Annals of Putna.
In order to clarify the role played by the Holy Putna Monastery in saving and storing books and cult objects threatened with destruction as a result of decommissioning of old worship places, the Centre also sets out to turn the monastery’s great artistic and documentary treasure to good account, by printing out items already in store as well as unpublished documents, either from the monastery’s archive or from other archives, be they public or private.
Our journal, The Annals of Putna, will contain various materials – studies, articles, notes and documents – that will be in keeping with the aims of the “Stephen the Great” Research and Documentation Centre. This will also include a column of reviews and bibliographical notes that will encourage discussions and specialized commentaries upon various papers (books and studies) reflecting the orientation of the journal. Subject to the available space and to a good communication with the authors, The Annals of Putna will also host a column entitled “Updated Bibliography” which will call attention to those works dealing with the epoch of Stephen the Great that are not included in the bibliographies issued up to 2004.
Thanks to a happy course of events, the first volume ever to be published under the aegis of the “Stephen the Great” Centre, along with the very first issue of its journal, The Annals of Putna, are to be printed almost concomitantly. This is significant enough as to the hopes of the ones setting out now. And these hopes are nothing but light of the light lit by our “wise forefather” in “his beloved monastery” of Putna, which, after his passing away, remained here to watch over his eternity.
The Feast of Dormition of the Mother of God, 2005