Old Cathedral > History
St George’s Church, the Former Metropolitan Cathedral

Part of the Metropolitan Complex, the former Metropolitan Cathedral was built in 1761-1769 by Metropolitan Gavrill Calimachi of Moldavia, formerly of Thessalonica (1745-1760). For more than a century it was the Cathedral in which the bishops of Moldavia were ordained and the great religious ceremonies were held.

Currently, the former Cathedral is used as Metropolitan Chapel.

On 22 November 2006, due to the work of consolidation on the Metropolitan Cathedral, St Parascheva’s relics were moved temporarily in this church.

The spiritual patron of this holy building is St George, the Great Martyr, Protector of the Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bucovina.

With the blessing of His Eminence Daniel, Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bucovina, the church, which had been used for a long time as the Metropolitan museum, was given back in 1999 its original function as a house of worship. After taking an additional patron in St Theodora of Sihla the church was entrusted to the community of nuns of the Iași Eparchial Centre.

The façades are covered with engaged pillars, in between which ogee arched panels are placed. Above the pillars, which are crowned with Corinthian capitals, there is a row of ogee arched recesses.

The rich ornamentation in relief is an example of the Constantinopolitan baroque with influences from Russian classicism.

The iconostasis is a masterpiece of the Balkan baroque. The wood covered in gilded stucco is carefully and gracefully crafted, and also abundantly decorated with vegetal and animal motifs intertwined with golden vines.

Our Lord’s and St George’s icons on the iconostasis were made in 1805 by a great painter of the time: Eustatie Altini.

Further evidence for the status of Cathedral it once enjoyed are the tombs inside and near the wall of the church, where the founder, Metropolitan Gavriil Calimachi (1760-1786) and other metropolitans of Moldavia and Bucovina were buried: Leon Gheucă (1786-1788), Iacob Stamati (1792-1803), Meletie Brandaburul (1844-1848), Sebastian Rusan (1950-1956). During the time of then Metropolitan Teoctist, later patriarch of Romania, the old Cathedral was restored (1981-1985).

In 1997-1999 the interior of the holy building was decorated with fresco in a Neo-Byzantine style by Professor Vasile Buzuloiu and his disciples.

The iconography is impressive on account of the sheer amount of images and the rigorous adherence of the composition to the guidelines of the Byzantine ‘hermeneia’. On the western wall of the naos there is a depiction of the terrifying Last Judgement.

The Byzantine mosaic executed in 1999-2000 in the exonarthex of the church by Master Virgil Moraru’s team illustrates four scenes from Paradise and the visit of Apostle Andrew’s relics to Iași in October 1996.

Recent renovation work included the restoration of the iconostasis and of the royal and episcopal thrones, instilling new life into this exquisitely beautiful church, which was re-consecrated on 22 May 2000 by His Beatitude Chrystodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, together with His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel of Moldavia and Bucovina.

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