Saint Nicholas of Radauti

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The locality of Radauti was founded, like the localities of Siret and Baia, before the appearance of the Moldavian feudal State and has acquired a certain importance.

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Although very old, the place was rarely mentioned in the historical sources. The beauty of the landscape, as if from fairytales books and the fact that it was here where the oldest stone architectural monument in Moldavia was built, turned the church of Radauti into a place of meditation and pilgrimage.

Between 1359 – 1365 Bogdan I built the church in a Roman Style, as necropolis of the ruling family. The tombs of his heirs lie beside his own.

The church was going to be named Bogdana remembering its founders, according to the local tradition. Subsequently, more precisely in 1559 Alexander Lapusneanu enlarged the church by adding the porch. The sculpted rock frames of the windows of Gothic influence date back from this period. The old monument, mostly Roman, with a basilica plan and three naves, is unique for its style of Moldavian architecture.

Unitary and well proportionate, with a silhouette elegant in its simplicity, the building has an original adaptation of the basilica plan to the needs of the Orthodox cult. The light penetrates through 11 windows with narrow openings towards the exterior, but enlarged inside. 10 counterforts strengthen the walls of the church. The southern wall has three windows and is sustained by a single counterfort, while the northern wall has a window and three counterforts.

Worth remarking are the valuable wall paintings and tombstones placed by Stephen the Great on the tombs of the first Musatins. In an old document around 1415 it is mentioned that the church was partially re-painted by Alexander the Good, later re-done during the rule of Stephen the Great and finally worked on again during the rule of Alexander Lapusneanu. Four great and beautiful compositions of the altar hold the attention: The Secret Dinner, The Eucharist of the Saint Apostles with Wine, The Eucharist of the Saint Apostles with Bread and The Feet Washing. Because of the resemblance with the Voronet church it can be considered that they were made during the rule of Stephen the Great.

Rulers Bogdan I, Latcu, Roman I, Stephen I, Bogdan Alexander the Good’s brother, Bogdan Alexander the Good’s son were buried at Saint Nicholas from Radauti. Ruler Stephen the Great placed tombstones on the graves of his precursors. The decoration masterfully executed is different with each tombstone.

The church received many art and cult objects, donations made by various rulers throughout time. Unfortunately, after 1777 they were sent to other churches and monasteries and only an Icon of Mother Mary, the Breviary printed in 1745 and a Miscellaneous Manuscript of 1783 remained in the collection of the church.

The harmony of proportions, the presence of the Roman and Gothic elements, the obvious trace of the local masters turned the Saint Nicholas Church into a homogenous synthesis of styles and creation.

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