Oct 292009

Versiune în română

Last Sunday I was invited to a baptizing at this charming church that goes by the name of Saint Dumitru Church, also called “of Oath Taking” because in the 17th century the parts involved in a trial would come here and take an oath to tell the truth while wearing the Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary. It is also called “Saint Dumitru at the Post Office”, because of its location, and in the past it used to be called “Saint Dumitru of Badea Bălăceanu”, after the name of one of the first patrons of the church. Although it is located in Bucharest’s Old Town, this church is far less popular than its close neighbour Stavropoleous Church.

This peaceful looking church has quite a stormy history. You can skip this part if you’re not interested. I won’t tell 🙂 There was a wooden church on these grounds as early as the 15th century but it was destroyed in 1595. Rebuilt in the beginning of the 17th century, it was left to ruin after its patron Bălăceanu fell from grace with the Prince of Wallachia Constantin Brăncoveanu. Rebuilt again between the years 1741-1746 and again left to ruin at the end of the 18th century. The church is then damaged in the earthquake of 1802 and what was left of it is burned in a fire in 1804. Then the cycle restarts. Rebuilt in 1843, the building burns down in Great Fire of 1847. The current building dates from 1852 but since then it was again damaged by earthquake and reinforced and renovated many times. After the First World War the church has been abandoned and proposed for demolition but thanks to a media campaign funds were obtained to renovated it. I think it looks pretty nice now.

  6 Responses to “The Church of Oath Taking”

  1. It wold be a shame to tear it down because it has so much history attached to it. Every time it was renovated adds a little bit more to the story.

    The dome on the church makes me think this is a form of Eastern Orthodox church, not Roman Catholic. Is that correct?

    Earthquakes? See how much I'm learning about your country?

  2. Stine: You are correct, it is a Eastern Orthodox church, I forgot to say that in the post. According to a 2002 census about 85% of the Romanians declared themselves as eastern orthodox.

    Bucharest is located in an earthquake area. We get smaller ones every few years and a big one every 30-40 years. The last major one was in 1977, 7.2 on Richter scale. I was only 5 years old at the time but it's one of the few memories that I still have from that time.

  3. You made me laugh loud! This nice church, for me, will be forever 'Saint Dumitru at the Post Office'… Another interesting story, are you practically saying that a Big One could come every day? That's scary!

  4. the church did undergo a lot of renovation…glsd it's staying that way for good…was just abt to ask what sort of church is this, no wonder it has a diff. style to it.
    earthquakes can be inevitable and that's one thing i'm scared of! ^-^

  5. Andreea,
    You asked me if I used a zoom lens to take the photo of the chickadee. Yes, I did. The bird would fly away if I got too close. 😉

  6. Vogon Poet: It's called at the Post Office because it lies on the Post Office Street (Strada Poştei in Romanian) and to differentiate it from other St. Dumitru churches in Bucharest. The funny part is that the Post Office the street is referring to is not there anymore. The church is behind an imposing building which used to be the Post Office Palace but which now houses the National Museum of History.

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