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Stavropoleos Church, Bucharest


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The Stavropoelos Church Complex (ensemble), contains:
The "Saints Michael and Gabriel, Saint Athanasie the Great" Church
The parish house and lapidarium
The bell tower
Code in the Historical Monuments List: B-II-a-A-19464
Location: Bucharest, str. Poștei nr. 6, sector 3

Date of construction: 1724, beginning of the XX-th century

At the beginning of the XVIII-th century, the Greek friar Ioanichie, born in Epirus, diocese of the Pogoniana archdiocese, arrives in Bucharest. He settles at a metochion of this archdiocese, at the "Ghiorma Banul" monastery to be precise, where he will be accepted as friar, soon.
In the year 1722, he buys a property in the Greeks' Inn slums, where he builds an inn with one story.
On the field gifted by the boyar Grigore Greceanu in the 1st of June 1724, friar Ioanichie builds, within the confines of his inn in the Greek slums, a church which he will finish in the 30th of October 1724. The church as it was at that time is depicted in the votive panel of the Stavropoleos church's narthex: fairly small size, with a tower, without an exonarthex and side apses. A church's inscription reads: "Acestă sfântă și dumnezeiască biserică s-au zidit întru slava lui Dumnezeu și întru cinste și pomenire celor întru chip de foc și stăpânitori a cetelor,Mihail și Gavril. Întru a doua domnie a pre înălțatului și pre înțeleptului stăpân Domn Domnului Ioan Nicolae Alixandru Voevod a toată Ungrovlahia vlădicind pre sfințitul mitropolit Kir Daniil; cu toată cheltuiala pre cuviosul întru ieromonahi și arhimandrit Kir Ioanichie den eparhia Pogonianis den satul ot Ostanica. În anul de la spășenia lumii 1724 Octovrie 30"  [ This holy and worthy of God Church was build for the glory of God and for the honor and remembrance of those like fire and rulers of the angel troops, Michael and Gabriel. For the second rule of the most high and wise master the Lord Ioan Nicolae Alixandru Voevod of all Ungrovlahia, anointing the holy metropolitan Kir Daniil; with all the expenses supported by the friar and prior Kir Ioanichie of the Pogonianis dioceses of the Ostanica village. In the year 1724 October 30 of the world's redemption.].
In the year 1726, Ioanichie becomes a metropolitan al Stavropoleos and exarch of all Caria, and from that moment, his church in Bucharest will be called Stavropoleos. He enlarges the church, in 1728, adding the exonarthex and the side apses of the nave and enlarges the altar, giving the church the shape we can see today.
After the death of its founder, in 1742, the wealth of the monastery is shrinking due to bad management, leading to a lot of debts and at the beginning of the XIX-th century it will be counted amongst the poor monasteries.
The earthquakes of 1802 and 1838 damaged the complex. In the year 1841 the bell tower and the church tower arte dismantled. In 1855 the wall facing the street will be destroyed, due to the danger of collapse. The inn will be dissolved between 1863 and 1871.
As the physical degradation sets in, the building raises interest due to its artistic features. Although its demolition is requested on several occasions, the authorities deny such claims. In 1858, architect Johann Schlatter is asked for a point of view, by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, regarding the demolition of the church and he insists for the keeping and restoration of the church. In his report, he states: "This church is the only monument of the old original buildings of the Capital. Therefore, I believe that such an orthodox architecture monument, bearing such craftsmanship, should be kept and restored, keeping its shape and its features, for the sake of art."
In 1897, the ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education entrusts architect Ion Mincu the restoration of the church. Here's what the architect wrote about this church in an article published in the "Epoca" newspaper, in the 25th of March 1904: "… The special features, the feelings of joy, elegance and coquetry that embrace us when standing in front of the Stavropoleos church are not related to the columns, handrails or painting, they're due to all of these components taken together, for they complete each other, for the à jour handrails are in harmony with the spiraled columns and elegant fantasy of the arches, which with their slight arabesques out of the lunettes, for the suppression of but one of these components, be that one the slightest artistic component, will, undoubtedly, diminish the worth of the whole structure (…) Even while it's not built in a "pure byzantine style", and, perhaps, for that reason specifically, the building gives us a precious "example of a pattern" that signifies the accomplishment of a journey of arts that our ancestors embarked on, the end of a journey (…) that we call "the Romanian style". Therefore the Stavropoleos church is, for us, the latest exercise of earthly art's evolution and an end that needs to be tied with the thread of tradition which leads and inspires the next generations of artists".
The restoration works being in August 1904 and last until 1908, and at that time the restoration is complete, except for the interior painting. The church has a tower built on top in order for it to look as in the votive panel.
Ion Mincu made a proposal to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education in a report from January 1900 that stated: "The rebuilt monument should be surrounded on three of its sides with galleries or open porticos, built in the same style in order to form an interesting and worthy setting on the one hand, and on the other to serve as a open air museum, where so many earthly architecture fragments will be placed."
The project of the bell tower, the place of the curator and museum rooms is forwarded to the Commission of Historical Monuments, just in 1908, after the church was restored. These components, aside from their practical use, were intended for the remembrance of the old buildings which once were part of a complex and to create a harmonious setting for the church, which was isolated from the "banal and modern buildings" from the vicinity (Ion Mincu). The museum was destined to keep the artistic and religious artifacts of the church, but also the original artistic features (architecture, painting, sculpture) that were replaced in the restoration, due to their advanced state of degradation. The works that began in 1909 are completed in 1912.

On the inside of the church, access is denied, and that's the reason why the panorama is incomplete. We hope to gain access and complete it in the near future.




Mănăstirea Stavropoleos
Direcţia Judeţeană pentru Cultură şi Patrimoniul Naţional București


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