April 12, 2013

0597 ROMANIA (Iaşi) - Church of the Three Hierarchs in Iaşi (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Erected between 1637 and 1639 in the heart of Iaşi, the then capital of Principality of Moldavia, Biserica Trei Ierarhi (Church of the Three Hierarchs) reflects the aspiration of the founder, the Voivode Vasile Lupu, towards the Byzantine world. The edifice was dedicated to the saints Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom, that places it in a world that was why of the Church Fathers, defenders of Nicene Dogma and of the unity of the Church. Built of limestone blocks carved and shaped, glued together with molten lead, the church complies the typical plan of the contemporary Moldovan churches, with three apses polygonal to outside and semicircular to inside, with three windows each. The uniqueness of the monument comes from the continuous network of ornamentation carved in stone that covers the exterior walls with mainly Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Arabic and Turkish models, but also with Russian, Baroque or indigenous inspired elements. Paul of Aleppo, the Syrian who passed by Moldova in 1653, wrote that the church "amazes the mind of the one who sees it", and the Turk Evlia Celebi, in 1659, that "there's no way to describe it with language or with feather." The original painting was done by Russian masters Sidor Pospeev, Iakov Gavrilov, Deico Iakovliev şi Pronka Nikitin, the best painters in the court of the Tsar, aided by Moldovans Nicolae Zugravul and Ştefan Zugravul (zugrav means dauber).

In the monastery was founded in 1640 the first superior school in Greek and Slavonic and was sheltered the printing press brought by Vasile Lupu with the support of Petru Movilă, Metropolitan of Kiev. Here was printed in 1643 Cazania lui Varlaam (the Homiliary of Varlaam), also known as Carte Românească de Învăţătură (the Romanian Book of Learning), the first book in Romanian printed in Moldova. Inside the church are buried, together with Vasile Lupu, Tudosca (his first wife) and Ştefăniţă Vodă, their son; prince and scholar Dimitrie Cantemir (1673–1723); and Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the first ruler of the United Romanian Principalities (1859–1866). Between 1641 and 1882 in the nave were housed Sfânta Cuvioasa Paraschiva's relics, and in 2001 brought back some of the relics of St. Basil the Great, reached at Trei Ierarhi also during Vasile Lupu's reign, and remained here until 1975.

Looted and burned by the Tatars and Cossacks in 1650 and by the Polish in 1686, affected by other fires in 1808 and 1827 and shaken by several earthquakes, the church was restored between 1882 to 1887 by the French architect André-Emil Lecomte du Nouy, disciple of Viollet-Le-Duc (who restored Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris), helped by Romanian architect Nicholas Gavrilescu. The painting, the iconostasis and all interior decoration in general were completely restored in neo-Byzantine style, free to follow the original. In 1991 it was submitted in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name L'église des Trois Hiérarques de Iassy.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Common Lungwort, is part of the series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (I), about which I wrote here.

Mănăstirea Sfinţii Trei Ierarhi din Iaşi - Wikipedia
Mănăstirea Sfinţii Trei Ierarhi - Monumente de Arhitectură

sender: Irina
sent from Iaşi (Iaşi / Romania), on 24.01.2013

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