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Room 210

Paul of Aleppo
The Syrian Arab Archdiocese, an orthodox christian, on his Arabic name Bulos ibn az-
Za'im, was a very cultured man, an relentless traveler, who in the middle of the seventeenth century
visited Valachia on several occasions, accompanied by his father, the patriarch by Antioch,
Macarius III Za'im, on canonical trips in order to gather mercy for the orthodox christians in Syria,
under the pressure of the Ottoman Islamization. Paul, on his Christian name, was born in Aleppo,
in northern Syria in 1627, and as young he remained orphaned by his mother, was educated by his
father, then Bishop of Aleppo in the spirit of the byzantine orthodox culture. In 1642 he became a
deacon, and two years later, at age of 17, he got married, preparing for a priestly career. He was
soon made archdeacon of Aleppo, Damascus, and of all Arab countries, after his father's election
as Patriarch of Antioch in November 1647, under the name Macarius III, to whom he became
As the new patriarch needed resources to stop the Islamization of Christians under his
shepherd, cause only by money he could stop their abusive imposition on haraci (a greater demand
required by law only for christians in vassal territories not actually incorporated in the Ottoman
Empire) –by the sangeac-bei of Damascus, the Patriarch Macarie Za'im accepted the suggestion
of Vasile Lupu, the Moldavian prince (1634-1653), to come for the alms in Moldova, from where
he would pass with the same purpose to Wallachia to Matei Basarab (1632-1654) ) and then in
Ukraine of the hatman Bogdan Hmelnitki and in Russia of the tsar Alexei Mihailovici. It was a
long journey, which lasted about seven years (1652-1659), and where Archdeacon Paul of Aleppo
accompanied his father as secretary, witnessing the historical changes in Wallachia: the replacing
of Vasile Lupu with Gheorghe Serban, the death of Matei Basarab, the coming to the throne of
Constantin Şerban and his replaceing with Mihnea III, events that he related and sometimes he
was involved with. But he was not satisfied only with this, in the few passes through Wallachia
and Moldavia; Paul of Aleppo has also described monuments, churches and palaces, customs of
all kinds from cultural romanian environments, popular and ecclesiastical, official ceremonies,
customs, economic and social data and much more. Everything without a preconceived plan,
recording with savor the facts on the spot.
Of course, the arabic manuscript of the Patriarch Macari's Travels, preserved in few copies
and translated only at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the next one is for
romanians the most important writing of Paul of Aleppo. But there remained also other original
writings and transcripts after translations from Greek into Arabic made by his father, Macarie
Za'im. It thus translated, preserving implicitly, the oldest form of the Letopisis of Wallachia from
1292 to 1664, completed for the years 1658-1664 even in Syria. And the Patriarch Macarie III also
translated in arabic a greek (byzantine) chronograph, going from the fourth century until the end
of the sixteenth century, then transliterated by Paul de Aleppo, which so has come to our day.
But for the Comana area, the Archdeacon of Aleppo describes the monastery of Radu
Şerban from Comana, the first building from 1588, previous the one of 1700 that is visible today,
and the nearby palace at Coiani (Mironeşti), by the son-in-law of the latter mentioned, the
seneschal Constantin Cantacuzino, whom Paul of Aleppo and Macarie Za'im visited in september
1657. The two coming from Grădiştea, the village of the ex great Vistier Bunea Grădişteanul
(1653-1655), "on roads with bumps and through a great strait", they reach the Comana monastery
with the patronage of St. Nicholas, for which Paul of Aleppo leaves the only known description:
"It is a large, durable, surrounded by stone walls monastery. And at the four corners there are four
towers with vaulted galleries, around them, for strolling. One of them resembles one of the towers
of the monastery (Holy) Trinity in Moscow. The most delighted thing for me was the gaze on the
green grass meadow that stretches across all the monastery's courtyard with its fresh water and the
monk's cellars around it. This monastery is set in an island, surrounded by lakes and ponds, water
and impenetrable mud. And there is no way (leading) to her. We crossed by boat there. And the
river Danube is very close to it. They (the monks) say, "If the Emperor (of the turks) would came
to fight against it with his whole army, he would not be able to conquer it," which seems to be true,
because the position is very strong, between the lakes that never freeze, even in the harshest winter,
and sands under water and mud ".
That same evening Paul of Aleppo and Macarie Za'im with their suite visit the Radu
Serban's residence in Coiani, arrived in 1625, through his daughter Elina heritage, in the mastery
of her husband, the former great seneschal Constantin Cantacuzino, the two being the founders of
the Cantacuzino family in Wallachia. According to Paul Aleppo's important testimony, the village
of Coiani (now Mironeşti) was "seated in a high place that dominates the Argeş River". The nearby
boyar courtyard contained within the enclosure, the palace built after 1625, when it was established
here at the residence of his wife family, by C. Cantacuzino, and the old St. Nicolae church of the
courtyard, built before 1563 by Radu Serban's grandparents, jupâneasa Anca, from the Craioveşti
boyars from Vlasca, and her husband Neagoe the great Ban from 1560-1562. Paul of Aleppo, who
saw the buildings in Constantinople, is impressed by the C.Cantacuzino's building, which he
describes with admiration: "a great palace similar of the palaces of Constantinople. It is indeed
something worthy to admire in the architecture of the two main buildings placed one in front of
the other and that do not differ in any way from each other, with their domes and they are painted
entirely to imitate the rows of the colored marble. At the top of each cupola, crowning it, is a circle,
just like a solid piece of very good porphyry, and the rest is made in various faces, like the ones of
the marble.The sculpture is of a rare beauty and the carriages and the windows are wonderful.
Inside the enclosure there is a large church dedicated to St. Nicholas . "
It is clear that Radu Serban's son-in-law had built in Coiani with a palace with walls and
domes imitating the marble, with well-crafted windows, arranged in two main bodies, face to face,
therefore a palace according to the ones of Constantinople from where his imperial byzantine
family came from, a construction that had nothing to do with a boyar country residence. Nowhere,
the seneschal Constantin Cantacuzino, the swayer of many properties, has built such a monumental
building, of course a true tribute to the native residence of his wife of a royal family. Unfortunately,
today there is nothing left of all of this. A few years ago, the remnant of a small wall, which at
least indicates the place of the palace raised by Constantin Cantacuzino, was still visible. And the
church of the residence, founded by Radu Şerban's grandparents, was replaced in 1669 by his
daughter Elina, C.Cantacuzino's widow, along with his sons, the erudite Constantin stolnic and
Mihai Spătarul Cantacuzino, the founder of the Colţea monastery in Bucharest .
As for Paul of Aleppo, the author of the precious testimonies of September 1657 about the
Comane area during the time of Cantacuzino's successors, Radu Serban, he died in June 1669, in
Tiflis, Georgia, on his return from his last trip to Russia, not through the Wallachian lands, but
over the Caucasus. He was now a vicar of Damascus (where his arabic manuscripts were
preserved), but his great achievement remains the recording of the Patriarch Macarie of Antioch's
journeys in the Eastern Europe to which he took part. Three years later, but on the same day of the
month (1672 June 12/22), followed him in the world of shadows his father too, the patriarch
Macarie Za'im.
The Room 31
Lady Ilinca
He was the daughter of Nicolae Pătraşcu, the prince of Wallachia (1600) and of Lady Anca,
the daughter of Radu Şerban (1601; 1602-1610; 1611), for which she was told the entire life "lady"
(only since the phanariot era the rulers daughters were called "princesses"). Ilinca was therefore
the niece of two princes of Wallachia, Mihai Viteazul after his father, and Radu Şerban after his
mother. He was the third child of Nicolae Pătraşcu and Lady Anca, after Gabriel (death in 1622)
and Mihai Pătraşcu.
Ilinca was born in January 1624, at the time of her parents' wanderings in the lands of the
Habsburg Emperor. Raised and well educated in Vienna, probably in other imperial cities too, she
wrote and signed her entire life with latin letters: "I Ilinca daughter of Patrasco Voda," sometimes
sealing the papers with his grandfather's ring, Radu Serban. She was 16 years old in 1640 when
her mother returned from Vienna to Wallachia, bringing with her the bones of Radu Şerban and
Nicolae Pătraşcu, deceased in 1620 and respectively in 1627. The mother and daughter settled
from the beginning to the boyar residence of the family from Coiani (Mironeşti), near the Comana
monastery, founded by Radu Şerban, where Anca buried the bone of the father and husband in the
same crypt from the church narthex. Documents of the day say that "they were poor and lacking
in everything," meaning they did not have a revenue-generating domain, but they were the
descendants of famous voivodes and especially who had mastered many villages at their time, so
their situation soon improved. The residence of Coiani belonged to Elina in 1640, Lady Anca's
younger sister, married in 1625 with the later seneschal Constantin Cantacuzino, with whom she
founded the Cantacuzines lineage from Wallachia. Elina had returned from Vienna with her
mother, the widow of Radu Serban, immediately after his death in 1620, regaining posssession of
the domain of Radu Serban, for the Romanian custom of the time did not stop women (because
they did not have the right to the throne) to master the domains of the former voivodes. So the
poster C.Cantacuzino, who had built at Coiani a palace similar to the ones of Constantinople too,
housed her brother-in-law and her daughter Ilinca for two years in his house until the marriage of
the latter.
Moreover, the daughters of Radu Şerban, Anca, Ilinca’s mother, and Elina Cantacuzino get
along very well, sharing rightfully the incomes of the parental domains, rare thing at that time.
However, Radu Şerban's domain, with its Coiani residence and the Comana monastery, remained
the property of Elina Cantacuzino, and then passed to the possession of her Cantacuzini successors,
while Ilinca received from 1641 the villages of the other grandfather, by paternal line, Mihai
Viteazul, "with the judgment of our lord (Matei Basarab-n.a) and all the counsel of the country."
Only that some of these villages had been passed through all sorts of hands or abusively redeemed,
so that the granddaughter of Mihai Viteazul and Lady Stanca started a long and difficult legal
battle to regain them. In this he had next to his mother, Lady Anca, the support of the seneschal
C.Cantacuzino, but also the benevolent vigilness of the voivodes Matei Basarab (1632-1654), with
whom he related on the line of the Craiovesti boyars, and Constantin Şerban (1654-1658 ), who
was even uncle after his mother.
Becoming a rich heir since 1643, the next year, at 20 years old, she married Eustratie
Leurdeanu, the son of the great chancellor Stroe Leurdeanu. Matei Basarab, who had no
descendants, took care of Eustratie since his childhood, selecting him from among his successors.
As such, he claimed his marriage with a relative, a prestigious successor of two voivodes. From
now on, Matei Basarab also strengthens the villages of his grandmother, Lady Stanca of Mihai
Viteazul, and even urges her to recover those who have come to other rulers.
But changing destiny follows its course with ups and downs. Defendant of envious
opponents that he betrayed Matei Basarab - after the rumor that circulated at that time - Eustratie
Leurdeanu flew to Constantinople in the spring of 1647, when Mr. confiscated his domain. We do
not know whether Ilinca followed him; In any case, the documents of time will not mention it
anymore. The situation is changing in the last days of Matei Basarab, when Eustratie Leurdeanu
returns to Wallachia, so that the new gentleman, Constantin Şerban, considering that he was the
husband of his niece, would call him a great postelnic. The good condition of the family lasted
until the first year of Mihnea III's reign (1658-1659), when Ilinca's husband, consistently, of
course, his pro-Turkish position, who had put him in conflict, as we saw, and Matei Basarab,
refuses to take part of Mihnea's anti-homosexual uprising. As a result, Eustratie Leurdeanu was
executed by the Lord in August 1658, along with two other boyars, under the official accusation
of "cunning".

Room 32
Anca Lady
The great daughter of Radu Şerban, the prince of Ţara Româneşti (1601, 1602-1610, 1611),
was born at the end of the 16th century at the boyish residence of Coiani (Mironeşti) of his father,
then great grandmother of Michael the Brave. He was about 10 years old when his child's face was
embroidered with silver on the palate given by his father to the Mărgineni monastery, and his
childhood spent at Coiani, in the vicinity of his family monastery from his father, Comana, and
then at Royal Court. In 1611, his parents and sister were younger in exile from the Christian
emperor's lands, with whom he remained until the age of 20, when he married before July 7, 1618
with Nicolae Pătrăşcu, the son of Michael the Brave. The bridegroom was 34 years old, he had
been ruler of Wallachia (1599 November - 1600 September), installed by his father, but after 1610
he had passed on to Radu Şerban, whom he had faithfully served until his death (1620 ). In this
way the old dynasty of the descendants of Basarab I, with the latter of Craioveşti-Basarabi, was
founded, founded by Radu Serban from Coiani. The two spouses remain in Vienna, but Nicolae
Pătraşcu, now only a contender at the seat of Wallachia, ruled with his lady and other properties
in Bratislava and the surrounding area, besides which the emperor gave him other estates and even
a castle in the county Nitria (today in Slovakia), for which he and then Mrs. Anca had to carry long
trials with the relatives of the former owners. At the beginning of 1624, Nicolae Pătraşcu, with
serious illness, remained with his wife in Bratislava, after which in 1626 the two returned to
Vienna, living from the imperial pension that came with difficulty. After the death of Nicholas
Pătraşcu in Vienna, before September 7, 1627, Anca buried his body in Györ (Hungary), where he
was the nearest Orthodox church in Vienna. The young widow, now signing Ana Radulia, with
her father's voivodal name, cast a lot of courage in her struggle to acquire the properties of her
husband and imperial retirement, seeing an unusual energy for 13 years between 1627 and 1640.
In the year 1622 and harassed by the creditors, Ms. Anca took away the link with Wallachia
from Wallachia in 1629, when she was buried with two children: Michael (Mihnea) and Ilinca
(Elina) (third, Gavril died in 1622) Alexandru Ilias, and the following year he asked Emperor
Ferdinand II of Habsburg to be allowed to return to the country. He did not, however, endeavor to
leave his son, Mihai Pătraşcu, still elderly, alone at the Vienna Court, where he completed his
education under the emperor's protection. Thus, a decade remained in Vienna, only to the end of
the interval, referring to the voivode of Matei Basarab (1632-1654), his relative on the Craiova
line, who, having no children, asked the Emperor for her son as a successor to the throne. Thus on
May 29, 1640 Matthew Voda requested the protection of Emperor Ferdinand III for Mrs. Anca to
return "to the homeland".
The emperor consented on July 24, giving him a free pass, with the support of the Imperial
General of Caşovia, and Prince Gheorghe Rákóczi I of Transylvania. And on August 3, 1640, he
orders him to pay 1,000 francs (very large amount) for the road. Anca left for the country only at
the beginning of October 1640 because he had in the meantime raised the bones of her father, Radu
Serban, from the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, and those of her husband Nicolae Pătraşcu
from the Orthodox church in Györ. With them, Anca's convoy, two carriages and an escort of 16
horsemen, passed through Austria, Upper Hungary and Transylvania on 18 November, and arrived
in Braşov, together with a logographer sent by Matei Basarab. From here, going to the 23rd of the
month at Rasnov, he headed for Târgovişte, where he was well received by Matei Voda on
February 25, 1641, thanks to Ferdinand III through a message of benevolence shown to her and
his family. From Târgovişte he goes to the Comana monastery, where the bones of Radu Şerban
and Nicolae Pătraşcu buried in the church's narthex, under a first slab (now at the National Art
Museum in Bucharest). Then, for several years, Elina, and her husband, poster C.Cantacuzino,
settled in her younger sister's house, living a lived life with his daughter Ilinca, even getting the
title of the church Vergul in Bucharest today.
He died out of life between 1664 and 1667 at the age of 70, and his tomb, intact, preserving
the golden golden ornaments of the lady who had spent many years in the Central European
countries, is in the narthex of Comana monastery church in the vicinity of the common to his father
and husband, and to that of her son, Mihai Patrascu, who was murdered in Moldavia in 1655, on
his return from an imperial mission to the country of Caesarea. This is how the fragment of the
funeral stone covered, after Anca's death, the eternal place of this and her son, a fragment now in
the museum of the Comana monastery.