The church of Ioan Ursu Bărboi was transformed in 1669 into a monastery and was dedicated to the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. Due to its weakening caused by bad weather and earthquakes (especially after the one in 1829), the founder’s heirs of the Sturdza family decided to rebuild their ancestor’s church entirely. In 1842, the Prince of Moldavia, Ioniță Sandu Sturdza, was buried here, him being the first settled Prince of the Principality of Moldavia after the Phanariot era. Other members of the Sturdza family are also buried here, as well as the poet Alecu Russo. Between 1863 and 1865, deacon Ion Creangă lived in the parochial house, before being transferred to Golia Monastery.
The church’s shape is inspired by the Greek Orthodox architecture, having a rectangular plane. It has Byzantine elements like the alternation of blocks of stone and brick friezes, the trefoil plane of the apses, and the Neoclassic elements on the façade. On the roof, there are four small towers which flank a central over-raised tower. Inside, the Greek influence can be noticed through the enlarged iconostasis and the Greek writings. Some contemporary architects said that it is unique in the Balkan Peninsula through the harmony of arches inside, sustained by the Carrara marble column. The painting is made in “fresco” technique, in Renaissance style, with real size representations of saints.
The steeple from the entrance is built in carved stone, having a thin shape. This has a vaulted brick entrance and is structured on four levels. The first level represents the access vault into the monastery, levels two and three shelter the bells, and in the fourth one there is the clock. The parish house reproduces the shapes of traditional Moldavian houses.
The damages made by the 1977 earthquake in the area, offered the communist regime the excuse to demolish old buildings and monuments. Many churches were hidden behind blocks of flats, not to be seen from the boulevards. It is said that in there were plans to raise a building right between the tower and the church, but luckily, Bărboi Church survived, being renovated with the help of the Romanian Patriarch Teoctist and it was sanctified again in 1988. Since 1990 the local tradition of the “Stâlparilor” pilgrimage was revived, on each Saturday of Saint Lazarus (of Larnaca). During it, thousands of believers, young people, pupils and priests from Iași gather at Băboi church and go on procession towards the Metropolitan Cathedral, holding the icon of Jesus Christ.