Banu Church

The “Assumption of the Virgin” church was founded by boyar Savin Zmucilă vel Ban and was sanctified on the 15th of June 1705 by Misail, Metropolitan of Suceava and Moldavia. The dwelling’s name is linked to the title worn by the founder of high official of the prince (“ban”). Before this, there was another church in this place, shepherded by priest “Ioan ot Banul”, according to a document from the time of Prince Vasile Lupu (issued in 1638), while the latest evidence attest a churchly settlement here, ever since 1560.

This is the first church built from oak wood and the only one where the service was made exclusively in Romanian, from the very beginning, in comparison to other churches or monasteries in the city, dedicated to the Holy Places, where the service was in Paleo-Slavonic or Greek (Galata, Tree Hierarchs, Barnovschi etc.). From start, the church had 17th century Romanian books like the Sermon printed in Iași in 1643 (today exhibited at the Holy Hierarch Dosoftei the Metropolitan Museum), the Prayer Book (Iași, 1681), the Liturgy (Iași, 1683), or the Greek-Romanian Gospel (Bucharest 1699).

In the past, it was also known as “The church of the poor”, because a large part of the ones living out of public charity used to pray here. It was built in the Poor Quarter, near the “big precipice”, area known today as the Râpa Galbenă (the Yellow Precipice). Also, along with the church, boyar Savin Zmucilă also built a nursing home which functioned until 1948, to shelter the poor, ill and travelers. The asylum was financed from the parish proprieties’ incomes (including Bragadiru Beer House, afterwards rebuilt as the Youth Cinema) or from the donations of other boyars.

Throughout time, the wooden church deteriorated and became too small for the growing number of believers. Thus, in 1802, the metropolitan Iacob Stamati decided to contribute to the construction of a  new stone church on the place of the former wooden church, similar in size to St. George Cathedral from the Metropolitan Cathedral’s current churchyard. The plans and the construction of the church were made by an architect from Transylvania, Herr Leopold. Once the church was built, the traditional name “Banu” was kept, but the patron was changed to the current one, “Sunday of All Saints”. It refers to the first Sunday after Pentecost, when, the Scripture say that “an angel came and stayed in the altar, having a golden censer, […] and the incense smoke arose from the angel’s hand, along with the saints’ prayer, before God”.

The outside adornment is dominated by the Baroque style, obvious through the stucco decorations from around the wide windows, but also through the crenelated cornice and the roof framework. Above the narthex the church has a steeple with a configuration dominated by Baroque elements. The church has two lateral apses contoured inside and, together with the semi-circular one from the altar, from a trefoil plane. Inside it has three vaults with a decorated pulpit. The Renaissance painting was made in 1803 by the Moldavian artisan Eustatie Altini. In 1948, the Committee of Historic Monuments, through its delegate, painter Corneliu Baba, ordered the scraping of the painting because it was blackened and didn’t have historical value. However, a medallion was kept to this today in the pronaos (narthex), under the left window. The Neoclassical painting restored in 2013, along with the major works of restoration, is remarkable due to the warm colors, unusual for Orthodox churches, and to the richly adorned friezes. During the recent renovation of the monument, an exhibition space was arranged underground, which will host a museum of old religious objects and a library, and architectural lighting was placed on the exterior.

Visiting hours: Monday/Wednesday/Thursday: 08:00-16:00

Pasajul Banu nr. 9, Iași 700127

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