Chișinău, Moldova, February 6, 2018
On February 2, the solemn opening of the Year of St. Stephen the Great, dedicated to the defender of Orthodoxy and right-believing 15th-century prince of Moldova, was held in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău. Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău and All Moldova took part in the event, celebrating a moleben before an icon of the saint, reports the site of the Orthodox Church of Moldova.
St. Stephen III the Great (1429-1504) was the prince and defender of the Orthodox faith and one of the most prominent rulers of the Moldavian Principality, ruling for 47 years. He was canonized by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992.
The event was also attended by Moldovan President Igor Dodon and other politicians and diplomats.
“Our great lord combined within himself a just attitude to people, love for Christ, and forgiveness of his enemies. We can find signs of holiness in his life and in his legacy, which was inherited by his descendants. He worthily bore the cross of a ruler, ceaselessly caring for our land and people… Seeing his firm faith, Christ the Savior gave him numerous victories over his adversaries,” Vladyka Vladimir said at the opening ceremony.
“Those minor defeats which he suffered were sent to him as a test of his faith and patience,” the bishop added.
St. Stephen lost the Battle of Razboieni to the Turks in 1476. He thought perhaps he should surrender the country to the Muslims, but St. Daniel told him he would soon win a decisive victory, after which he was to build a monastery in honor of St. George. Trusting in the words of his spiritual father, he drove the Turks out of the country.
There will be more than 50 events throughout the year of St. Stephen the Great, including exhibitions, academic conferences, sport competitions, the publication of thematic works and academic books, concerts, documentaries, thematic competitions, and much more.
Historical relics and sacred Church objects connected with the name of St. Stephen the Great from Turkey, Greece, and the Holy Mountain will also be sent to Moldova for the various celebrations.