The Church of the Three Hierarchs in Iaşi is a valuable and unique architectural monument in Romania, a marvellous combination of Moldavian and Wallachian architecture.
The initial church was built between 1637 and 1639 by Vasile Lupu, Prince of Moldavia, as a princely necropolis. It reflected the prince’s aspiration towards the Byzantine world, as it combined traditional structures and forms with a grandiose decoration. Vasile Lupu is one of the most important figures of the Romanian history, being a renowned protector of the Orthodox Church.
The Church of the Three Hierarchs is considered to be his most beautiful work, as well as an architectural masterpiece and one of the most original creations of the Moldavian art. There are several styles that influenced the construction of the church, from the Transylvanian Gothic to the Renaissance and Baroque, the final result being a synthesis of the Moldavian and Wallachian architectures. What gives the edifice its particularity is the harmonious contrast between the well proportioned forms and the sculpted decorations that cover the surface of the four facades. Experts counted over 30 unique types of geometric Oriental ornamental motifs which decorate the church’s exterior.
When it was completed in 1639, the church was covered in gold, silver and lapis lazuli. Inside, the church had ebony and cypress furniture, some of it incrusted with ivory from the Orient and Turkey. The vivid cultural life of those times demanded further development in the educational and artistic fields. The printing press brought to Iaşi from Kiev, considered to be the first in Moldavia, contributed to this development. The Church of the Three Hierarchs was the birth place of the first printed book in Moldavia, “Cartea românească de învăţătură” (1643), as well as of other books important for the Romanian culture. In June 1641, the relics of Saint Parascheva were sent to the Church of the Three Hierarchs by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, as gratitude for Vasile Lupu’s actions and generous donations. The relics were moved to the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1889.
Over the following two centuries the church was damaged by attacks, fires and earthquakes, which destroyed its initial painting and decoration. The church was restored by the architect André Lecomte du Nouy between 1882 and 1887, while the works on the painting and interior decoration lasted until 1898. While some voices say that Lecomte du Nouy brought the church a series of important changes, but kept the old architectural forms and the exterior sculptural ornamentation, others blame him for destroying the initial paintings. However, under his control, the church’s painting, iconostasis and gilded bronze furniture were completely restored on the expense of King Carol I.
Nowadays you can still admire the church’s unique exterior stone carvings, richly decorated with Persian, Turkish and Georgian ornaments and arabesques. Inside the church you will find charming golden mosaics or chandeliers adorned with ostrich eggs, as well as the marble tombs of its founder, Vasile Lupu, of Dimitrie Cantemir, a prolific Romanian intellectual, and of A. I. Cuza, the prince under whose leadership took place the 1859 unification of Moldova and Wallachia.
9:30 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 17:00
On Saturdays: 9:30 – 12:00 closed
Services during ordinary weekdays (including Lauds and the Holy Liturgy) are celebrated as follows: 6:00 – 9:30 and 17:00 – 19:30.
On Sundays and important feast days, religious services are celebrated as follows: 7:30 – 12:00 and 17:00 – 19:30.
How to get there:
The Church of the Three Hierarchs is situated in the centre of Iași, 5min walking from the Metropolitan Church and the Palace of Culture.
Telefon: +40 232 216 349 or +40 741 555 396