GAI MONASTERY

In the North- West side of Arad in the Gai suburb, at the end of the Danube street, there is a monument of the 17th century, the Saint Simon Monastery. It was erected in 1760-1762 by the bishop Sinesie Jivanovici (1751-1768) for his every memory and for his descendant's bishop seat of Arad. The contract signed on the 15th - 26th of May by the bishop Sinesie and the Arad master mason, Egidius Ioanovici, foresaw the erection of the monastery for 98000 Gold Florins. The two contracting parts discussed the project. The monastery was supposed to be formed of a mansion (residence of the bishop), a church and auxiliary buildings. The mansion was used as summer residence for the bishops of Arad. The church was the place where a large majority of people came to pray and listen to the priests' service. According to the wish of the bishop Sinesie, the church was built in Baroque style. Due to his wish, the church was part of a mansion, which was added to the church on its northern side. The whole complex has the form of the letter "U" because of the two exits towards the East marked by the apse of the church and the inner chapel existing in the Northern-Eastern side of the mansion.
The Eastern side of the complex is impressive and richly adorned, bearing the characteristics of the epoch. The church tower found in the south-western side, impresses by the two registers and the cornice between them. In the axis of the tower, there is the door of the church foreseen with a stone, rectangular frame. The tower has a pyramidal roof, formed of arched slopes made of zinc plates. The inner side of the church is typical to all orthodox churches. Towards the East, there is the semicircular apse of the altar, which presents a polygonal shape in the outside part. The altar table is made of red marble. The bishop Sinesie is buried in the altar.
After the demolition of the old cathedral of Arad, in 1861 the mortal remains of the bishop buried there were moved in the altar of this monastery.
Visitors of this monastery are impressed by the iconostasis of the church in the Neo-classic style. Extremely beautiful are the kings doors having a special ornamentation.
The complex contains the wood carved church of the Mures Selistea (Petris village), a very representative wood church so typical to the Mures Valley architecture. Visitors are impressed by the collection of " Romanian Old Art Pieces of Work" exhibited in the old mansion. Horea Medeleanu, the art critic, says that these works represent a wonderful image of the old Romanian art from this region of the country. The complex of Gai is worth visiting.

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