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Discover Moldova with #MOLDPRES: Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni, unique monument in East-Carpathian area

16:44 | 02.10.2023 Category: Tourist Moldova

The Assumption of the Virgin Church is a unique monument in the East-Carpathian area, through its placement under the level of the ground (semi-buried church). The frescoes from inside represent the last stage in the development of the medieval fresco in Moldova.  

The church with history, symbol and value

Situated at a distance of 80 km far from Chisinau, in the Causeni city, the church with the dedicated day Assumption of the Virgin was constructed approximately in 1763.      

And this given that the painting dates back from the 1763 year, being the work of painter Stanciul Radu and Voicul. The interior of the Assumption of the Virgin Church is richly painted in frescoes in the style of the late school from Hurez.   

Unlike the sober exterior of the Assumption of the Virgin Church, the interior has a more intimate nuance. A spectrum of warm colours, outlines on the blue background of the walls, predominates in the mural painting. One can see the influence of the Byzantine art in the iconography. The founders of the Assumption of the Virgin Church – Moldova’s Rulers Nicolae and Constantin Mavrocordat, Grigore Alexandru Ghica, Grigore Callimachi, Metropolitan of Proilavia Daniil, etc., are also painted on the religious frescoes.   

What’s interesting is that the Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni is semi-buried, a fact explained by a legend which has remained since the Tartar administration in the region. They say that the Tartars allowed the construction of a Christian church, provided that it is not taller than a solder on a horse.  

Thus, the Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni is a unique architecture monument in its kind in this part of Europe, a symbol of the persisting of the Orthodox faith and the spirituality of our nation. The church was included in the domestic and international tourist circuit.   

The Assumption of the Virgin church from Causeni witnesses a new life following its restoration

The Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni was inaugurated in September 2022, following more years of restoration.  

Since 2016, the Embassy of the United States has provided an overall budget of 1,069,603 dollars through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation of the U.S. Government for the restoration of the church. The implementer of the project, the public association Centre of Archaeological Researchers from Moldova, made archaeological diggings, built a new sewerage and electricity system, replaced the brickwork and the roof of the church, constructed a system of airing, consolidated the frescoers, etc. The last sum of 342,000 dollars, allocated by Moldova’s government for this architecture monument of national importance, was for infrastructure and works of territorial arrangement.   

„The restoration of the church, unique in Moldova, the interior walls of which are covered with frescoes painted by Wallachian painters in 1763, is a huge contribution of the American nation to the turning to good account of our national cultural heritage. This is a support which will contribute to the restoration and preservation of the national heritage,’’ Culture Minister Sergiu Prodan said.    

„We will not live as long as this church will live”

The Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni represents a monument of architecture of national category, recorded in the Register of Moldova protected by the state with No 122. According to the text of the foundation inscription, the church was built in 1763. Some authors, however, date it back from the 16th century, considering that it was only reconstructed and painted in 1763-1767. Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga visited the church in the beginning of the 20th century and said that ‘’it seemed to him an old mosque transformed.’’ The plan of the church, the elements of architecture, technique of construction are of Balkan origin. This is the best preserved medieval church (in original format) from southern Bessarabia.   

According to PhD in history, Ion Xenofontov, the Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni is characterized by more curiosities:

The construction guttered in the earth is directed on the axis East-West. The church has seven right-angled windows and is divided according to a model of a holy church: pronaos, naos and altar.    

After the definitive elimination of the Muslim administration in south Bessarabia (1807), a stone tower with a cross on it was erected above the naos.  

The length of the church outside is of 19.75 metres and the width - 8.60 metres. Inside, the length of the church is of 18 metres and the width – 6.9 metres. The height inside the church is of 5.55 metres at the passage between the pronaos and naos.   

The church differs from other ecclesiastic constructions from the age through the placement of its foundation lower than the level of the soil (semi-buried). Such cult monuments were specific to Turkish pashaliks from the South Eastern Europe.  

The ensemble of paintings inside the church, worked in the spirit of the traditions in fresco, impress through monumentality and the range of warm colours. According to a PhD in the study of arts and culturology, Natalia Podlesnaia, the painters Stanciu and Voicu presented the vine full of grapes of three different colours as symbol of the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ.   

Since 5 April 1983, the Assumption of the Virgin Church from Causeni, with status of museum-monument, has been managed by the National Art Museum.  

A metropolitan used to say about this church:’’We will not live as long as this church will live.’’

In the end, we can say that the reconstruction of the Assumption of the Virgin church from Causeni, just as the arrangement of such places as the Soroca Fortress, Inn of Manuc-Bey, rebuilt within cross-border projects, means a flow of tourists, who come to visit us, to know us and invest in the country’s economy.   

Correspondent Lilia Grubii 









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