Views 54 Unique 34
Vote 25
Award Shortlist   

Romania XXXIX

By gss  
Three Hierarchs Orthodox Church of the same name monastery, in Iaşi (Jassy), Moldavia region, Iaşi County, Romania. 1637-1639.

Iaşi town has many monuments, from different ages, but the most famous is the "Saint Three Hierarchs" monastery , built right in the center of the town between 1637-1639. It is almost a classical "Moldavian style" church, but it has something unique. Its wall [b] facing decoration : there is no any "square centimeter" without carved stone decoration.
Eccentric characters give, sometimes, to the posterity, some amazing monuments. That's the case for this church, and his founder. To understand somewhat this abundant decoration, have to "understand" somewhat its founder, an unique ruler in the former Principality of Moldavia. His reign name, was chosen, by himself as Vasile (Basil) meaning in Greek "emperor". Posteriority called him " Vasile Lupu " that can be translated as "Basil the Wolf" or "the Wolf Emperor". He was one of the few non-Moldavian rulers of the XVII century. His origins are very disputed. His real name seems to be Lupu Coci, very strange as, "Lupu" is the forename, extremely rare. His father was a nobleman from Epirus (western Greece) but from Aromanian origins. Vasile Lupu was born in the Bulgarian town Arbănaşi, on the southern side of the Balkan mountains. How he came in Moldavia, that's a mystery. He seized from a noblemen uprising, and get the Moldavian throne in 1634, and reigned until 1653. He was the great contemporary and rival of Matei (Mathew) Basarab, and had many fights with him. He always claimed some Byzantium emperors downward and all his life did all his acts to prove that, by many eccentric things. He was also very pious and faithful, giving a fortune to the Mount Athos monasteries. He bought the relics of the Saint Paraskeva (or Petka, the greatest saint women in the Balkan Peninsula), and brought them, with a huge pomposity, to the Three Hierarchs church in Iaşi. He considered himself as a big patron of arts (Maecenas), and built other monumental buildings, encouraged writings, arts, science. and expended a lot of his huge fortune on this.

So he built this church in Iaşi, having the most eccentric decoration in my country. Purist art critics of the XX century have "disbanded" that excess of decoration, but the fact is it goes in harmony with the whole church composition. The idea seems to came from the Caucasus (Georgia and Armenia , and many stone sculptors from that region became Moldavians between the XIII-XI centuries). Some decoration "tentatives" (as here) were tried also in other previous churches, but in a less important dimension (of the scale and size of the decoration). At Three Hierarchs, all the church epidermis is completely covered by horizontal strips of rich carved stone. Specialists have identified many sources for this extraordinary decoration (floral or geometric): from Caucasus ( Georgia and Armenia ), Russian. Ottoman and Western Baroque! Another synthesis between Orient and Occident art. And the whole was covered with blue Lapis lazuli (the bottom, parts in depth) and the outgrowths, were gilded with gold leaf. After the built, contemporary travelers were really amazed by this decoration, unique. It seems that the gilded decor was melted during an Ottoman - Tartars fight mission, and I really do not understand why, the last restoration who ended in 2013, did not restored that extraordinary wall facing. In Romania, there was another stone decorated church gilded and treated with Lapis lazuli, at Curtea de Argeş, in Wallachia.
An English summary, excellent written by Aurelian Triscu, one of my former teachers in the University of Architecture, can be consulted here
-to be continued-
A scanned slide from 1970
Decoration in extended views can be in below video especially between minutes 1.16-2.17
Have all a very nice Sunday

Tags: Church Architecture Decoration Orthodox Moldavia Iasi Carved stone ZRomania Wall facing Eccentricity

Voters: BillRookery, bobtl, nonur and 22 more

Top Black Friday Deals For Photographers


nonur 12 18 13 Turkey
27 Sep 2015 4:36PM
Wonderful writeup, a good shot of this special portal facade.
JuBarney Plus
9 33 5 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2015 5:04PM
A lovely shot showing the wonderful stone carving
27 Sep 2015 7:45PM

Quote:A lovely shot showing the wonderful stone carving

Ditto Silviu. Cathy
Maiwand 13 3 73 England
27 Sep 2015 8:34PM
Excellent shot and narrative once again Silviu.GrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
28 Sep 2015 10:39AM
very interesting series...I enjoy
EdgarasV 8 2 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2015 12:00PM
Very nice series!!!
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2015 1:34PM
Those carvings are very impressive!

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.