The Healing Spring from Brancoveni Monastery

In the middle of the Caracal Plain, 19 km south of the town of Slatina, on the old road that connects the fortress of the Romanian Country with Bănia Craiovei and not far from Calea lui Traian which united Sucidava (today’s Celei) from Cedonia (Sibiu), we find Brâncoveni commune. The Roman road, intensely circulated since Antiquity by the merchants and farmers of the Romanati Plain, coincides in most part with the asphalted road of today. The road still bears the name of “salt road” today because they passed through here to the Danube, to be loaded and then taken to all corners of Europe and the Ottoman Empire, with salt charts extracted from Ocnele Mari.

The first documentary attestation of the village was reported in 1386, in a document given by the ruler of the Romanian Country, Mircea cel Bătrân. More than 500 years ago, the village was further north than its current position. Over time, it moved south, to its place today, because of a plague outbreak. The locality experienced an early development compared to the neighboring settlements, especially since here they had properties, since the fifteenth century, boyars who had large administrations in Bănie or the Court of the Seat fortress.

On the map of Constantin Cantacuzino, published in Padua and dedicated to his ruler and nephew Constantin Brâncoveanu, where the Romanian Country is represented at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the village of Brâncoveni appears mentioned as a fair and as a residence of the Romanian county. According to the notes of Maria Văduva, in the work “Saint Brâncoveni Monastery”, this position was also due to the importance that the “Brâncoveni” Monastery had in the respective Royal Court.

Both the village and the Brâncoveni monastery derive from a legend. Thus, the village derives its name from its first inhabitant, Old Man Brancu. Established here, the great boyars Craioveşti brought skilled craftsmen to raise the walls of new vestiges. Later, others were added, so that on the top of the hill, where the village is located, are placed the historical buildings of the feudal type (the royal court, the churches “Saint Nicholas” and “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary”), the founders of our great Basarabi, Matei Basarab and Constantin Brâncoveanu, who close the hill to the west.

Brâncovenii, the rulers of the village

In the “Genealogy of the Cantacuzino family by the Great Ban Mihai Cantacuzino” of 1902, Nicolae Iorga wrote that, regarding the age of the origin of the Brâncoveni family, the rulers of the village, there are two versions. An older one, from the 17th century, who attests that this estate had been owned by ”the old boyars from Brâncoveni, by inheritance, by ancestors, who settled in the country”, according to the writings of the Document of Duca-Voda, from 1674 . The second, slightly newer version, from the 18th century, attributed to the “Cantacuzin genealogist, Banul Mihai, who considers Brancoveni descending from a certain Brancovici, the son of a sun-in-law of the Serbian knyaz Lazăr (Neagoe Basarab’s father-in-law), who, after the knyaz Lazar Brancovici had been killed by the Turks, had settled in Muntenia at his aunt Despina, the wife of Neagoe Basarab. The basis of the genealogist is, however, a simple assumption supported by the derivation of the name Brancoveanu from Brancovici. In fact, the Brancoveni boyars are neither so old nor do they inherit their name from the Brancovi of Serbia, from which they would descend. Their possession, the Brâncoveni estate, passed the name on to the new owner (the beginner of the Brâncoveni family), at a time not too distant and that the estate itself – if it is to make etymological assumptions – draws its name from the first owner, Old Man Brancu, from whom remains even today, as a living memory, the name of a valley, “Valea Brancului”, which Brancu has, however, no connection with the later owners of the estate named after it “Boierii Brâncoveni” (Brâncoveni boyars).

Here, in the Brâncoveni commune from Olt county, there is a magnificent monastery, the Brancoveni Monastery, hiding between its walls a spring of water with healing properties: the Healing Spring. The history of this place of worship began in the 16th century, when members of the Brancoveanu boyar family built a religious complex here. In 1570, a young boyar female named Celea erected a small wooden church in Brancoveni. The legend tells how, later, in 1634, the nephew of Cela Brâncoveanu, Matei Basarab, who became ruler of the Romanian Country between 1632 and 1654, rebuilt and transformed the monastery, strengthened it against possible attacks, turning it into a true defense bastion. The reason for this rebirth of the place is revealed by a local legend.

But what does the legend say?

We find the story given in the monograph of Romanați county (today, Olt county), written in 1923. It is reported here that the decision of Matei Basarab to rebuild and fortify the monastery would not have been just coincidental, but that it has to do with the existence in its garden of a healing water spring.

Matei Basarab was an erudite gentleman raised in the house of Craiovești and a visionary spirit. It is said that the ruler suffered from a skin disease whose doctors from the court or from abroad could not find a cure. The disease filled the ruler with sores on hands and feet. One day, Matei Basarab was walking with his trusted man through the forest on the outskirts of the village of Brancoveni, which surrounded the monastery erected by his grandmother. As they walked through the forest, they came across a flower-filled meadow; bending over to pick up a few, the ruler got dirty on his hands. He then went to the nearby fountain he knew to wash his hands, and it was no small surprise, after washing and wiping his handkerchief, to see that the sores that had been on his hands for a long time had disappeared as if by marvel. Then he took off his shoes and, dipping his feet in the water, they were miraculously healed. As a result of the ruler’s healing, many people came to the spring from the Brancoveni Monastery in Olt to find relief for various diseases and conditions.

The spring is still flowing nowadays, and thousands of believers from all over the country are still coming here to enjoy the healing effects of the water from Brancoveni, especially on the day of the Healing Spring (the first Friday after Easter). According to the nuns at the monastery, the spring water was sent for analysis, but no special substance was found in its composition. They claim that the healing effect of water is the grace of God.

Currently, the spring has been captured, and above it was built a beautiful shrine decorated with a mosaic representing the dedication of the Brancoveni Monastery: The Healing Spring. Visitors from all over the country and even beyond its borders come here to enjoy the effects of the water, but also to spend a few hours in a special natural setting, to admire the beauty of the architecture of the monastic complex or for the historical importance of these places.

One of the attractions of the complex is the current church of the monastery, rebuilt in 1699 on the site of the old one by Constantin Brâncoveanu, the ruler of the Romanian Country between 1688 and 1714, beheaded in Constantinople (Stanbul) right in front of the High Gate along with all four sons of his right, punishment for not wanting to reject the right Christian faith to convert to Islam. The Voivod wanted to defend the Orthodox world in the Balkans and to preserve the integrity of Orthodoxy in Transylvania against the tendencies of Catholicism, at a time when the Catholic Church threatened the true unity of the Romanian people and many Hungarians had already gone to Calvinism. The parents and grandmother of the ruler are buried in the Brancoveni monastery. Tourists can also visit the monastery museum, and those who are looking for a bed for the night, a hot plate or a glass of cold water are welcomed by the nuns from Brâncoveni Monastery.

The nuns also set up the bell tower, the place where the ruler prayed with his wife. Also in the church, but at the entrance, there is also the tomb of Popa Șapcă, who helped the place to survive after Cuza confiscated the monastery assets. The Brancoveni monastery was not forgot by the communists, who forced the nuns and the monks to leave and look for a job, the place being transformed into an asylum during that period.

Archaeological discoveries

In Brancoveni, the distant past still lives through the vestiges brought to light. Thus, near the monastery were identified Dacian settlements – the necropolis of Văleni or Măgura from Văleni, as the locals say, living testimony of communities beyond the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. Also, a Roman castrum, preserved as none from our country, is waiting for the continuation of the archaeological research under the guidance of some specialists of profile.

Also, ceramic pots, bronze arrows, mastodon jaws, coins, fighting weapons, household tools, etc., belonging to the Coțofeni, Vădastra and Boian cultures were discovered. These objects were exhibited in the local School Museum (founded by teachers Maria and Constantin Cojocaru, on 24 January 1968), in the “Brâncoveni” Monastery Museum, as well as in the museums in Slatina, Cluj, Caracal and Bucharest.

It was also found the ceramic aqueduct, which was used both for the drinking water supply of the Royal Court and for the Turkish baths from the “Brâncoveni” Monastery. This aqueduct was discovered during the works of arranging a sports base on a distance of about 500 m below the ridge of the hill, starting from the village church up to “Brâncoveni” Monastery.



• “Slatina: The Healing Spring from the Brancoveni Monastery”, 10 July 2009,

• “The Healing Spring from Brancoveni”, %83d uirii-of-the-br% C3% A2ncoveni

• Ionuț Jifcu, “The Healing Spring from the Brancoveni Monastery, between faith and fair”, 12 May 2013,

• George Aniculoaie, “The wonders of the Virgin Mary at Romanian springs”, April 19, 2012,

• Raluca Brodner, “The native village of Saint Constantin Brancoveanu”,

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