Iași, October 3, 2019
The Metropolitan Cathedral in Iași, Romania has entered a new era of its existence.
After 30 years of extensive consolidation and restoration work, the church, dedicated to St. Parascheva, the Presentation of the Lord, and St. George, has finally opened without scaffolding, fully revealing its grandeur and beauty, and just in time for the annual pilgrimage in honor of St. Parascheva, reports Doxologia.
The restoration work has been underway intensely since 1997, under His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, who was serving as Metropolitan of Moldova and Bukovina at the time, as the Archdiocese of Iași falls within the Metropolia of Moldova and Bukovina. Since 2008, the work has been coordinated by His Eminence Metropolitan Theophan.
“It is a joy for me, because in the last 30 years since I have been at the Metropolitan Cathedral, I have never seen it without scaffolding on one side or the other… I am very glad that the good God and St. Parascheva helped us to see such a beautiful cathedral, with many improvements,” exclaimed Archimandrite Dosoftei Șcheul, a cleric of the cathedral.
However, while the work has progressed enough to remove the scaffolding, it is not fully completed. The stone work around the base of the cathedral should be completed by the end of the year, or by spring of next year, Fr. Dosofthei hopes.
They also intend to clean the iconography and add more iconography through another project in the coming years, Fr. Dosofthei explained.
“Once these works are done as well, we can say that, indeed, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iași, the ‘Mother of [Moldovan] Churches,’ as it has always been called, has received a new garment and is as beautiful as when it was founded by its two great founders: Metropolitan Benjamin Costache and St. Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldova,” the archimandrite commented.
One of the largest pilgrimages in Romania will be held from October 11 to 15 in Iași in honor of St. Parascheva, one of the most beloved saints of all Romania and venerated as the patron saint of the eastern Romanian region of Moldavia.
Pilgrims will be able to venerate the precious relics of St. Parascheva, as well as those of St. Spyridon, which will be brought from Corfu for the occasion.
The “Mother of Moldovan Churches” is a monumental 19th-century building, built on the site of two older churches, from the 15th and 17th centuries. The foundation stone was laid by and the actual construction is due to the zeal and determination of Metropolitan Benjamin Costache. The work began in 1833 but stalled after Met. Benjamin was forced to withdraw from his position. The central vault collapsed in 1857, and work on the church was later resumed by St. Joseph the Merciful in 1880. The cathedral was consecrated on April 23, 1887.
The relics of St. Parascheva were transferred to the cathedral in 1889.