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Galatz


History of churches    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

General remarks

At the beginning of the 19th century, Covurlui County belonged ecclesiastically to the Eparchy of Roman, and since February 1851 was subordinated to the Bishopric of Huşi. In 1864 when the Lower Danube Bishopric was created, Covurlui was transferred to this new ecclesiastic unit. In 1878 Russia re-annexed Southern Bessarabia, and the headquarters of the Lower Danube Bishopric was moved from Ismail to Galaţi. During the following half–century it was led by Bishops Melchisedec Ştefănescu (until February 1879), Iosif Gheorghian (March 1879 – November 1886), Partenie Clinceni (December 1886 – February 1902), Pimen Georgescu (March 1902 – February 1909) and Nifon Niculescu (March 1909 – January 1922), all hard working personalities, interested to develop the network of churches under their subordination (after 1878 the bishopric administered the counties of Brăila, Galaţi, Tulcea and Constanţa).

By 1890 there were 53 parishes in Covurlui, among which 12 urban and 41 rural ones. There were recorded 18,738 families of Orthodox Christians or 72,007 persons, among which 5,006 families with 19,707 believers in the urban parishes[1]. In Galaţi there were 12 parishes, with a total of 22 Orthodox churches, among which 20 Romanian Orthodox, and the other two belonging to the Greek and Bulgarian communities. Among the 20 Romanian churches, six were funded by the state and 14 by the municipality. Besides them, there were also other four heterodox churches: Gregorian (Armenian), Catholic, Lutheran, and Lipovan[2].

The Orthodox churches

St. Demetrius Church (Sf. Dumitru). A church with St. Demetrius as titular saint existed at the monastery founded by Prince Vasile Lupu (probably in 1640–1641), when the relics of St. Parascheva were brought to Moldavia. The church was dedicated to St. Paul Monastery from Mount Athos. The beautiful monastic church was in ruin in the 19th century, despite the 1829 renovation by priest Ioan Papazoglu, when the initial architecture was substantially modified. Other restorations were completed in 1881, but the church was closed in April 1886 and was later demolished[3].

The Assumption Church (Precista). It was built in 1643–1647, during the reign of Vasile Lupu, on the site of an older wooden church, by several merchants from Brăila and Galaţi. The church was dedicated to Vatoped Monastery from Mount Athos. For constructing the church, the builders used stone, brick, sand and hydraulic lime; the stone was partly taken from the ruins of a nearby Roman settlement. The fortified church also served as refuge place in times of peril. It was probably burnt in 1711, and it suffered greatly during the Russian–Austrian–Ottoman war of 1735–1739, as well as in 1821, when it was looted and burnt by the Ottoman soldiers. It has been renovated several times since then[4].

St. George Church (Sf. Gheorghe). The St. George Church was built through the efforts of Hagi Mihalachi, being completed in 1664[5] and thereafter dedicated to St. Tomb Monastery from Jerusalem. In March 1710 the bones of the famous hetman Mazeppa were reburied here, after the tomb from Varinţa was desecrated by the Ottomans. However, the church was looted in 1711, and the hetman’s bones were thrown into the Danube. The church was affected by several earthquakes and fires, but an 1838 renovation modified its initial architecture. The church was demolished during the 1960s, when the area was “systematised”[6].

Mavromol Church. The construction of this church began during the third reign in Moldavia of Prince Gheorghe Duca and was completed in 1702 by his son, Prince Constantin Duca, who dedicated it to the Mavromol Church in Constantinople. The church was burnt down by the Ottomans in 1736 and after its renovation was dedicated to the Metropolitan See of Jassy. In August 1765 Alexandru Ghica established here a Greek school, put under the trusteeship of the local authorities and of several merchants. The church was severely damaged during the wars of 1768–1774 and 1787–1792, and then burnt down in 1821. The actual building dates from 1858–1861 and respects the initial plan[7].

The Entry into the Temple (Vovidenia). Vovidenia Church was founded in 1790 by ban Ion Cârja, and was consecrated by protopope G. Avram. It was burnt in 1821, and was renovated and re-consecrated in 1823 by Gherasim Clipa, the bishop of Roman. It served until 1863 as municipal cathedral. It was renovated again in 1886, and was then used as a place of practical training for future priests[8].

St. Nicholas Church (Sf. Nicolae). It was founded in 1773 by Prince Mihail Racoviţă, who dedicated it to St. Catherine Monastery from Mount Sinai. It was burnt in 1821 and the new construction began in 1839, with the contribution of the local inhabitants and financial support from Constanţie, the archbishop of Sinai. It was consecrated in 1845 by protopope Petru Procopie. It was the cathedral of the local protopope, and between 1877 and 1903 served as Episcopal Church, after the headquarters of the Lower Danube Bishopric was moved to Galaţi. The church suffered important damages at the 1903 earthquake and was renovated in several stages[9].

St. Archangels Metoc Church (Sf. Arhangeli Metoc). The church was built in 1801 by a certain George Sişman, and was consecrated in 1804. It was dedicated to Neamţ Monastery, which contributed to its construction. The church was burnt in 1821 and was restored in 1825, with the support of Monk Luca, sent from Neamţ, on the expenses of the monastery and of the local community. It was restored several times during the 19th century[10].

St. Archangels Mantu Church (Sf. Arhangheli Mantu). It was the third church with this titular saint and placed on the same site. The first one was burned in 1821 and built again in wattle and daub by Iordache Mantu, being re-consecrated in 1827. The third one, of brick, was began in 1864 and completed in 1876[11].

St. Spyridon Church (Sf. Spiridon). The church was built in 1815–1817, but similarly to the rest of the local churches it was burnt down in 1821. It was then renovated, but the 1838 earthquake destroyed its wall towers, which were restored thereafter[12].

St. Elijah Church (Sf. Ilie). The church from the 19th century was the third with this titular saint. The first was built in 1821, being followed by a wooden building in 1824, and since 1857 by a brick building[13].

St. Friday Church (Sf. Parascheva). A church with this titular saint was founded in older times, and a second one lasted until 1809, being dedicated to the bishopric of Roman. A new building, began by priest Constantin on a site offered by Avram Casapul was consecrated in 1813. It was burnt down in 1821, being built back in 1824 in framed wall and consecrated in 1836. In 1856 it was built in bricks by trustee G. Neculciu[14].

St. Three Hierarchs Church (Sf. Trei Ierarhi). It was built in framed wall in 1823 on the site of a former church burnt in 1821. It was then built in brick, being consecrated in 1886[15].

St. John Church (Sf. Ioan). It was firstly built in framed wall in 1831, then in brick in 1846–1853[16].

St. Apostles Church (Sfinţii Apostoli). It dates from 1848, and was built by the contribution of local fishermen, who financially supported it afterwards[17].

St. Charalambos Church (Sf. Haralambie). The building of the church began in May 1848 and it was consecrated in December 1848, with the support of Jecu Dimitrie, Arsenie Teodor and with the contribution of the local community. It was radically restored during the subsequent period[18].

Annunciation Church (Bunavestirea). The construction of this church probably began in 1857, due to the diligence of trustees Ene Fote and Gheorghe Fudulu, and was almost completed by the end of 1858. The church was consecrated in 1860, and the painting was done by Grigore Pelinescu[19].

St. Emperors Church (Sf. Împăraţi). It was begun in 1857 and consecrated in 1863, being built by the community[20].

The Spring of the Virgin Mary Church (Izvorul Maicii Domnului). This church was built to satisfy the religious needs of the inhabitants from the valley of the city. The works started in 1866 and lasted until 1873, when it was consecrated by protopope Ioan Severin. The parishioners enjoyed the support of trustees Alecu Radovici and Hagi Iane Gheorghiu, who endowed the church with several estates[21].

The Nativity of Mary Church (Naşterea Maicii Domnului). The parishioners from Vadul Ungurului area requested, in 1870, the approval to build a new church, on the site of a former one. The new church was founded by brothers Ioan and Manolachi Hagi Nicolau. The construction began in 1871 and the church was consecrated in August 1875 by bishop Melchisedec[22].

St. Sophia Church (Sf. Sofia). The construction started in 1872, and the church was consecrated in October 1880. It was demolished during the communist period[23].

St. George and Patriarch Modest Church (Sf. Gheorghe şi Patriarhul Modest). Subscriptions for building the church started in 1893, but only a chapel was built in the following years, consecrated by bishop Partenie in October 1897. By the end of 1911, the trustees took upon themselves to raise all necessary funds, but the church was completed only in 1934[24].

St. Demetrius Church (Sf. Dumitru). It was consecrated in November 1894 by bishop Partenie, after the closing of the older church with the same titular saint[25].

St. Nicholas Episcopal Cathedral (Biserica Episcopală Sf. Nicolae). The place for a new Episcopal church was chosen, in central Galaţi, in 1904, and the headstone was placed at a ceremony in April 1906, in the presence of the crown prince of Romania. The construction lasted until 1917, being done after the project of architects Petre Antonescu and Ştefan Burcuş. The church was painted by Costin Petrescu. It was consecrated in August 1917 by Bishop Nifon Niculescu[26].

Metamorphosis Church (Schimbarea la Faţă). The Greek community received in 1865 the approval of the authorities to build a communal church. The headstone was placed in August 1866 in the presence of Bishop Melchisedec, who was also present at the consecration of church, in December 1872. It was restored in 1882[27].

St. Pantelimon Church (Sf. Pantelimon). In September 1860, Iordache Antachi and Efstati Atanasiu, delegates of the Bulgarian community, required the municipality to approve the construction of a communal church. Due to the lack of funding, the church was only completed in January 1887, when it was consecrated by Bishop Partenie[28].

Other Christian churches

The Assumption of Virgin Mary (Adormirea Maicii Domnului). The Gregorian Armenian church was built between 1855 and 1858 by the Armenian community and was administered by a communal trusteeship. An older Armenian Church existed since the end of the 17th century, but it was burnt down in 1821[29].

St. John the Baptist Church (Sf. Ioan Botezătorul). The Catholic church was completed in 1844, with funds donated by different personalities, including Charles Albert, the king of Piedmont, as well as with the support of the local Catholic community of Galaţi[30].

St. Nicholas Church (Sf. Nicolae). The Lipovan community, consisting of 36 believers in the 1880s built between 1861 and 1863 a church devoted to St. Nicholas[31].

The Protestant Church. The protestant community received in 1852 a site for a communal church. It was built a decade later[32].

The Calvinist Church. The church of the Calvinist community was opened in July 1868[33].

 

Picture 3.3.1.1_1 St. Nicholas Episcopal Cathedral
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_2 The Assumption Church (Precista)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_3 The Entry into the Temple (Vovidenia)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_4 St. Spyridon Church (Sf. Spiridon)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_5 St. Archangels Metoc Church (Sf. Arhangeli Metoc)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_6 Mavromol Church
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_7 St. Nicolas Church (Sf. Nicolae)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/

Picture 3.3.1.1_8 St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Sf. Ioan Botezătorul)
Source: http://www.galati.djc.ro/


[1] Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice, (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 116–122.

[2] Ibid., 122–123.

[3] Ibid., 138; Paul Păltănea, “Vechi locaşuri de cult şi viaţa bisericească în sudul Moldovei până la 1864”, in vol. Monumente istorice şi izvoare creştine (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1987), 213; Corneliu Stoica, Monumente religioase din municipiul Galaţi (Galaţi: Editura Alma, 2001), 101.

[4] Pacu, Cartea, 135–137; Păltănea, “Vechi locaşuri”, 205–208; Idem, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 117–118; more details Cristian Dragoş Căldăraru, Biserica fortificată Precista. Monument de cultură românească (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1989), 112.

[5] Păltănea, “Vechi locaşuri”, 214; Mihaela Denisia Liuşnea, “Un monument dispărut – Mănăstirea Sf. M.M. Gheorghe din Galaţi”, Mousaios, 6 (2001), 161–170; Eadem, “Mănăstirea Sfântul Mare Mucenic Gheorghe – Monument”, Teologie şi educaţie la Dunărea de Jos, Galaţi, 2003, 280–286.

[6] Pacu, Cartea, 137–138; Păltănea, Istoria, 119–122.

[7] Idem, “Informaţii inedite despre Biserica Mavromol din Galaţi”, Buletinul Monumentelor istorice, 39 (1970), 4: Idem, “Vechi locaşuri”, 216–217; Idem, Istoria, I, 123–124. More details in Petru Copceac, Eugen Drăgoi, Biserica Mavromol din Galaţi (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1987).

[8] Pacu, Cartea, 127–128.

[9] Ibid., 123–125; Data on all churches in Galaţi also in Gh. N. Munteanu–Bârlad, Galaţii (Galaţi: Societate de Editură Ştiinţifică–Culturală, 1927), 61–69.

[10] Pacu, Cartea, 125–126.

[11] Ibid., 139.

[12] Ibid., 131–132.

[13] Ibid., 138–139.

[14] Ibid., 139–140.

[15] Ibid., 141.

[16] Ibid., 142.

[17] Ibid., 126.

[18] Ibid., 133–134.

[19] Ibid., 141; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 212.

[20] Pacu, Cartea, 134.

[21] Ibid., 126–127; Drăgoi, “Aspecte ale vieţii bisericeşti din Episcopia Dunării de Jos, în anii 1864–1886”, Monumente istorice şi izvoare creştine (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Dunării de Jos, 1987), 271; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 212–213.

[22] Pacu, Cartea, 134–135; Drăgoi, “Aspecte”, 273; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 213.

[23] Pacu, Cartea, 143; Drăgoi, “Aspecte”, 273; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 213.

[24] Păltănea, Istoria, II, 213.

[25] Gh. Popescu, Dare de seamă despre afacerile bisericeşti (Bucharest: Tipografia Gutenberg, 1906), 90; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 213.

[26] Drăgoi, “Catedrala episcopală din Galaţi, un veac de existenţă, 1906–2006”, Biserică, misiune, slujire (Galaţi: Editura Episcopia Dunării de Jos, 2006), 71–174; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 211.

[27] Pacu, Cartea, 132; Drăgoi, “Aspecte”, 271–272; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 213.

[28] Pacu, Cartea, 132–133; Teodor Codreanu, Albumul Galaţilor (Galaţi, Tipografia Bucovina, 1935–1936), 35–36; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 212.

[29] Pacu, Cartea, 144; Codreanu, Albumul, 38–39.

[30] Pacu, Cartea, 144–145; Codreanu, Albumul, 27–28.

[31] Pacu, Cartea, 145; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 214.

[32] Ibid.,

[33] Popescu, Dare, 95; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 214.


References

Websites:

The official site of the Archibishopric of the Lower Danube

http://www.edj.ro/

The official site of the Catholic Church

http://catolicagalati.ro/

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Parohia Bisericii “Sf. Gheorghe şi Modest” Galaţi (The Parish of the St. George and Modest Church), files starting with 1901.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Episcopia Dunării de Jos (The Lower Danube Bishopric), files starting with 1810.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Protoieria Galaţi (Galaţi Protoiery), files starting with 1836.

The Archive of the Lower Danube Archibishopric.

Bibliography:

Căldăraru, Cristian Dragoş, Biserica fortificată Precista. Monument de cultură românească [The Precista Fortified Church. A Monument of Romanian Culture] (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1989).

Constantinescu, Anghel, Monografia Sfintei Episcopii a Dunării de Jos [The Monograph of the Holy Bishopric of the Lower Danube] (Bucharest: Atelierele Socec, 1906).

Copceac, Petru, Drăgoi, Eugen, Biserica Mavromol din Galaţi [The Mavromol Church of Galaţi] (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1987).

Drăgoi, Eugen, “Aspecte ale vieţii bisericeşti din Episcopia Dunării de Jos, în anii 1864–1886” [Aspects of Church Life from the Bishopric of the Lower Danube, between 1864 and 1886], in vol. Monumente istorice şi izvoare creştine [Historical Monuments and Christian Sources] (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Dunării de Jos, 1987), 257–303.

Drăgoi, Eugen, “Catedrala episcopală din Galaţi, un veac de existenţă, 1906–2006” [The Episcopal Cathedral of Galaţi, A Century of Existence, 1906–2006], Biserică, misiune, slujire [Church, Mission, Ministration] (Galaţi: Editura Episcopia Dunării de Jos, 2006), 71–174.

Iordache, Teodor, Albumul Galaţilor [The Album of Galaţi] (Galaţi: Tipografia Bucovina, 1935–1936).

Liuşnea, Mihaela Denisia, “Mănăstirea Sfântul Mare Mucenic Gheorghe – Monument” [The St. George Monastery – Monument], Teologie şi educaţie la Dunărea de Jos, Galaţi, 2003, 280–286.

Liuşnea, Mihaela Denisia, “Un monument dispărut – Mănăstirea Sf. M.M. Gheorghe din Galaţi” [A Lost Monument – The St. Gheorge Monastery of Galaţi], Mousaios, 6 (2001), 161–170.

Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).

Păltănea, Paul, “Informaţii inedite despre Biserica Mavromol din Galaţi” [Unpublished Documents on Mavromol Church of Galaţi], Buletinul Monumentelor istorice, 39 (1970), 61–64.

Păltănea, Paul, “Vechi locaşuri de cult şi viaţa bisericească în sudul Moldovei până la 1864” [Old Houses of Cult and Church Life in Southern Moldavia until 1864], Monumente istorice şi izvoare creştine [Historical Monuments and Christian Sources] (Galaţi: Editura Arhiepiscopiei Tomisului şi Dunării de Jos, 1987), 189–255.

Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).

Popescu, Gh., Dare de seamă despre afacerile bisericeşti [Account on Church Affairs] (Bucharest: Tipografia Gutenberg, 1906).

Stoica, Corneliu, Monumente religioase din municipiul Galaţi [Religious Monuments from the City of Galaţi] (Galaţi: Editura Alma, 2001).


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