Three Hierarchs Church

The Three Hierarchs Church (Romanian: biserica Trei Ierarhi) is an architectonic jewel of the city of Iaşi.

The religious dwelling was built between 1637 – 1639. The value of mondial singularity is given by the external decoration, an embroidery of rocks, from the bottom up to the eaves’ cornices. Carved in stone on the southern facade of the "Three Hierarchs" church, the votive legend reads: "We raised this church in the name of the three saints: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostome and it was blessed in May, the sixth, 7147 (1639) by the Metropolitan Bishop Varlaam...". The church builders bearing succeeded in merging the influence of different worlds into one monument, steeped in the local tradition. The ecclesiastical space thus created counts among the most illustrious of its kind in Romanian art, in the history of the people, of the country and in the Orthodox church. It stands as a landmark of a significant historical time embracing prodigious trends and it is representative for the spirituality of a resourceful community, unique in its artistic achievements.

The builder of this unmatched monument is the pious Prince of Moldavia Vasile Lupu (1634-1653), one of the most distinguished personalities of Romanian History, well-known defender of the Orthodox Church. During the first years of his reign, when the Constantinople Patriarchy was in a critical condition - crippled by debts, dominated by intrigues and hit by disorder - Vasile Lupu interfered and tried to put things right. At the same time, later he would pay the debts of the Holy Grave and those of the Athos Mountain monasteries and make many donations as the initiator of some Orthodox Christian religious and charitable works in Poland, Bulgaria and Greece.

The "Three Hierarchs" church in Iaşi reveals the craving to belong to this astonishing Byzantine world, combining traditional patterns and effects with precious materials and rich ornament. The monument observes to a great extent the sixteenth century Moldavian church layout - a triconch plan, influenced by the Galata church, but having an extra turret above the narthex. The vault, observing the ingenious Moldavian vault system, comprises two overlapped rows of four and eight arches that added to the upper pendentives shorten the diameter of the bell turret. Outside, the facade decorative effects remind one of the Dragomirna monastery church (Moldavia 1606 - 1609) and the face divided by a moulding found in Wallachian monasteries. The influence of the Transylvanian Gothic is obvious when it comes to buttresses, the window stone reinforcing, the door design, the accolade-shaped mouldings and arches.

On the northern side of the pronaos there are two niches sheltering the bones of the family of the ruler Vasile Lupu, and on the southern side rest the bones of the rulers Dimitrie Cantemir (1710-1711) and Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866). It’s on this same niche that in 1641 were deposited the relics of Saint Parascheva, having as day of celebration the 14th of October.

The historians record some important events in the history of the monastery: the inter-orthodox synod in Iaşi, in 1642, when the representatives of the main branches of orthodoxy came here, and the year 1645, when the patriarch Paisie of Jerusalem, former abbot at the Galata Monastery was anointed. The printing house established at Trei Ierarhi is considered to be the first in Moldova. The printing press issued the first book in Romanian, “Cartea românească de învăţătură” (Romanian Book of Knowledge) (1643), and also other reference books for the Romanian culture. In 1821, it’s from the courtyard of the Monastery Three Hierarchs that was given the signal for the liberation of Greece, through the voice of Alexandru Ipsilanti who presented a Proclamation (28 February 1821) in which he stated the objectives of the Eteria, in it’s fight for the liberation of the Balkan nations.