Friday, December 27, 2013

Stefan The Great.... Warrior and Saint

St.Stefan the Great

As I light a candle for St. Stephen today for family members and friends that share the name, memories of Moldova’s greatest warrior and protector from the Ottoman invasions are passing by.

Prince Stefan the Great Voievod ruled Moldova region of Romania in the XV century from April 12, 1452 to July 2, 1504.

Detail from one of St. Stefan the Great's battle flags

Often I have followed his legacy through the travels in the region, visiting the monasteries that he founded, enjoying the hospitality of the people that love him and the traditional Moldavian food and wine that they share with the visitors.

Cheese Strudel

Sour Cherry Strudel

Bread for greeting visitors and salt


In 1992, Stefan the Great was canonized by the Romanian Orthodox Church and continues to be venerated as Saint Stefan the Great, savior of Romanian ancestral lands, hero of Christianity as he fought the invading Ottomans and kept them from advancing in Europe.

He is buried at Putna Monastery one of Bucovina’s medieval gems that he built after he had a vision from angels.

Putna Monastery Bucovina

Interior Frescoes Putna Monastery
Ceiling Fresco Putna Monastery

St. Stefan the Great's Grave


Having led a life of epic proportions, and feeling his end was near, Stephen the Great issued on 2nd February 1503, a document of final his will and testament, in which the privileges of Putna Monastery, from the time of its foundations until that date were again stated and stressed:

“And after we pass away, whosoever shall rule this country, the descendants of our children or of our kin, or anyone whom God may choose to be the ruler of this country, Moldova, he shall not disobey our legacy and command, but will strengthen it and make it stand.”

                                          Voyages of Discovery