Romanian diocese reestablishing hermitage that traces to St. Stephen the Great

Mănăstioara, Udești, Suceava County, Romania, August 16, 2021

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By decision of the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuți, a hermitage that traces to St. Stephen the Great, the 15th-century ruler of Moldavia and one of the most beloved saints of the Romanian Orthodox Church, will be reestablished.

The Suceava diocesan council made the relevant decision on Wednesday. The hermitage, in Mănăstioara, Udești, Suceava County, will be under the auspices of St. John the New Monastery in Suceava, the diocese reports.

According to tradition, the wooden church that developed into the hermitage was built by order of St. Stephen the Great after the tragedy of his father’s murder.

In October 1451, St. Stephen and his father Bogdan II were at a wedding in Suceava when Bogdan’s brother Petru Aron, who ruled Moldavia at that time, invaded and decapitated Bogdan. St. Stephen fled and hid in the hollow of an oak tree in a nearby forest, thus escaping with his life.

In 1457, St. Stephen managed to expel Petru Aron and subsequently ordered that a church be built from the oak tree in which he hid.

The current wooden Church of the Entrance of the Mother of God dates to at least 1762, if not earlier. It has been included on the list of historical monuments in Suceava County since 2015.

In April, Pătrăuti-Elevation of the Cross Monastery in Bukovina, also founded by St. Stephen the Great, was reopened, having been closed by the Habsburg Monarchy more than 200 years ago.

In June, the foundation for a new Church of St. Stephen the Great was laid at the Moldovan Ministry of Defense.

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