Friday, 26 June 2009

Cantacuzino family - Wallachian branch (1)

***This branch was founded by the Grand Chamberlain Constantin Cantacuzino, the most influential noble of his time. He was assassinated in 1663 at the orders of Grigore Gheorghe Ghica, Lord of Wallachia. He built country residences in Mărgineni and Filipeștii de Târg and founded the monastery in Mărgineni, now gone. From his marriage with Damsel Elina, daughter of Radu Șerban, Lord of Wallachia ( 1602-1611; 1612 ), he had 6 sons and several daughters. Since his eldest son, High Steward Drăghici, died a bit prematurely, it was his second son, Grand Chancellor Șerban, who obtained the throne when the family attained power ( Lord of Wallachia 1678-1688 ). His other sons were Princely Table-Servant Constantin ( perhaps the most famous intellectual of the so-called 'Cantacuzine Renaissance' in Wallachia, author of History of Wallachia father of Ștefan Cantacuzino, Lord of Wallachia 1714-1716 ) and of High Chancellor Radu ( see his tombstone, formerly in the Cotroceni Convent ), High Steward Mihail Cantacuzino ( famous founder of the Colțea Establishments in Bucharest, nowadays hospital, of the Sinaia Monastery, of the church in Fundeni etc. ), Sheriff Matei ( see his tombstone in Cotroceni; his son, Steward Toma, joined the Russians with his soldiers in the battle of Stanilesti 1711, one of the causes of Brâncoveanu's fall ) and Steward Iordache ( see his tombstone, formerly in the Cotroceni Convent ). One of the daughters was the mother of Constantin Brâncoveanu, one of the most important Lords of Wallachia ever ( reigned 1688-1714 ). Regarding Ștefan Cantacuzino, he was deposed by the Turks after the Sultan had grown tired of the inter-Cantacuzene intrigues. More precisely, Princely Table-Servant Constantin and High Steward Mihail had been to a great extent the power behind the throne during the reign of their nephew Constantin Brancoveanu, but they began to grow apart, especially on the subject of Brancoveanu's foreign policy. The two uncles apparently brought about his deposition by the Sultan ( followed by execution ) and Ștefan's appointment in 1714. Two years later, Mihail himself became discontented and tried to cause his nephew's deposition. The Sultan not only deposed Stefan but had all three Cantacuzino men arrested, brought to Istanbul and assassinated/executed. His wife wandered through Europe and found refuge in Saint Petersburg, where her son Constantin was a Russian general, whereas her other son Radu settled in Austria ( as 'Rudolf Kantakuzen' ) and distributed membership in fictitious orders of chivalry.

***The Wallachian branch is further subdivided into the Drăghici branch and the Princely ( or Râfoveanu ) branch. High Steward Drăghici had a son, Princely Table-Servant Pârvu Cantacuzino; from his marriage with Ilinca, daughter of Mareș Băjescu, Great Ban of Craiova, he had two sons ( Great Ban Matei and Table-Servant Pârvu ), who gave birth to two further sub-branches ( the former also known as the Măgureanu branch, from their estate, where Drăghici had a palace built, now in ruins ).

***Great Ban Matei was the father of three eminently pro-Russian brothers who were very active during the Russian occupation of 1769-1774: Great Ban Mihai Cantacuzino followed the Russians when they left; in Russia he finished his History of Wallachia ( Istoría tis Vlachías ) and wrote his Cantacuzenes' Genealogy ( Ghenealoghia Cantacuzinilor ); his wife Elena was the daughter of High Treasurer Ianache Văcărescu and her dowry included Văcărescu's Orchard in Bucharest, where Cantacuzino had a small monastery built, namely the Daughter-House of the Bishopric of Râmnic, demolished in 1876 ( the Romanian Athenaeum was built in its place ). Another son, Radu ( or 'Rodion' in Russian ) was colonel of a regiment of Wallachian volunteers in Russia in the 1768 - 1774 War and was married to Ecaterina, daughter of Ioan Mavrocordat, Lord of Moldavia; some of his Russian descendants married Orlovs and Naryshkins and his grandson Rodion, owner of the Kantakuzenska estate, was the son-in-law of Count Mikhail Speransky, the 'father of Russian liberalism', and his descendants were themselves not only princes Kantakuzen, but also counts Speransky; among them, Prince Mikhail, Rodion's grandson, married Julia Dent Grant, the eldest of General Ulysses Grant's grandchildren ( and the only one born at the White House, in 1876 ). Another son, Great Ban Parvu, founded Măgureanu's Church in Bucharest ( demolished in 1895 ) and died fighting the Turks in the battle of Comana in 1769, during the Russo-Turkish War, as head of a corps of Wallachian volunteers ). A fourth brother, Constantin, married Safta, of the Moldavian Deleanu branch of the family. His descendants, living in Moldavia, were called the Măgureanu-Deleanu branch. Among these descendants:
******- Maria Cantacuzino, whose second husband was the French Impressionist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes ( see );
******- Ioan Cantacuzino, her brother, briefly Interior Minister of Moldavia ( 1861-1862 ), married to Ecaterina Cantacuzino-Pascanu;
******- Vasile Cantacuzino, her other brother, revolutionary in 1848;
******- Matei B. Cantacuzino ( 1854-1925 ), his son ( 'B' coming from a Latinised version of Vasile ), jurist, Rector of the University of Jassy, Minister of Religious Faiths and Public Education ( 1918 ), Justice Minister ( 1920 ); his daughters Ioana and Elisabeta Cantacuzino married politician Grigore Filipescu and aviator Radu Beller respectively. See Grigore Filipescu's and his wife's grave and Elisabeta Beller's, both in Bucharest's Bellu Cemetery. The two sisters' niece, Lucia Cantacuzino, married dr. Matei Bals;
******- Elena, the latter's sister, married the painter Eugen Ghika-Budesti and was the mother of the architect Nicolae Ghika-Budesti;
******- Ioan, their brother, see his grave in Bucharest's Bellu Cemetery;
******- Nicolae B. Cantacuzino, their other brother, diplomat, ambassador to Switzerland ( 1911-1912 ) and Austria ( 1920-1922 ); he married Princess Marcela Bibescu, daughter of Prince George Bibescu and of Countess Valentine of Caraman-Chimay;
******- Emanuel N.B. Cantacuzino, their son, married Stefania Bellu, granddaughter of Alexandru S. Bellu;
******- George Matei N.B. Cantacuzino ( or simply G.M. Cantacuzino 1899-1960 ), Nicolae's other son, architect; he coordinated the vital refurbishing works at the Mogosoaia Palace, owned by his uncle and aunt, Prince George-Valentin and Princess Martha Bibescu; he designed Hotel Rex in Mamaia, Hotel Bellona in Eforie and in Bucharest Elisabeta Palace, the building of the Industrial Credit Company, Chrissoveloni Bank, Carlton Building; he married Princess Alexandra ( Sanda ) Stirbey; her sister Marina and her husband were arrested at the end of the '40's together with G.M. after attempting to leave the country illegally. Unlike his relatives, G.M. didn't leave the country after being released; see picture
******- Mr. Serban Cantacuzino, their son, also architect, involved in conservation projects; he is linked with both Romania and the UK ( I think he left the country before WWII ); see picture
******- Marina and Ilinca, his daughters, live in London ( I believe the former is a journalist and the latter an artist ).

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