ORTHODOX CHURCH “THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY” (MOON CHURCH)

ORTHODOX CHURCH “THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY” (MOON CHURCH)

Location: Oradea, 2 Piaţa Unirii

In the center of the city from the shore of Crişul Repede, lasts for more than two centuries the imposing architecture of one of the most famous ecclesiastical buildings in Oradea. Moon Church finds its origins at the end of 18th century when, following the proclamation of the Edict of toleration by the Emperor Joseph II of Austria on 29th of October 1781, it is allowed the construction of the first church of orthodox worship in the center of the city.

The construction of the church started on 9th of November 1784. 48 years have passed until the completion of the works. The completion of the building, including the painting of the inside walls, the realization of the iconostasis, the sculptures and the gilded details took place in 1831. On 11th June 1832 the church was consecrated.

It is the first church with tower ever built in the New Town. Also, it is the first othodox church that sees the light of day in the heart of the fair.

The religious monument that we see today in the Union Square, near the Black Eagle Palace and Greek-Catholic Cathedral St. Nicholas, is the result of the architectural plans designed by designer Iakob Eder and executed by the constructor Ioann Lins.

The building is an authentic architectural work of the late Baroque inspiration, combining harmoniously neoclassic elements with those of Byzantine origin. The architecture is adapted and designed in such a way that allows fulfilling the orthodox ritual.

The paintings on wood inside the church, the wood sculpture and the gilded iconostasis are the work of brothers Alexandru and Arsenie Teodorovici from the period 1816-1831. Several restoration periods followed: between 1977 and 1979 the painter Eremia Profeta realizes the fresco painting of the church, and between 2000 and 2001, the painter Marian Verza is the one who restores a great part of them.

Today, the visitors can contemplate the fresco painting but also some works of Teodorovici brothers: the icons on the iconostasis, the paintings from the bishop’s chair, the pulpit and from the two kliros.

Perhaps one of the most obvious aspects of the authenticity of the ecclesiastic monument is the imposing bell tower and the ingenious mechanism. Made in 1793 by the mechanic Georg Rueppe from Oradea, the spherical globe, half golden, half black, placed under the tower clock, continues to function until today. The mechanism was designed in a way so as to make complete rotating movements around its axis in 28 days, which allows the indication of moon phases. Thanks to this ingenious detail, the building has taken the name of “Moon Church” which is also the name under which the monument is known mainly by the townspeople.

Today the Moon Church from Oradea represents an essential part of the tourist circuits in the city, being a real cultural, historical and religious symbol for the city as well as a living testimony of the religious identity of the community inhabitants from this region.

Attractions of the Church:

• The clock and the mechanism from the bell tower

• The sphere from the tower with a diameter of 1 m makes a complete rotation at 28 days and shows the moon phases

• The inscription in German on the anchor wheel of the clock from the tower can be read even today: “Georg Rueppert in Grosswardein, 1793” (Georg Ruepper in Oradea, 1793)

• The copy of the authentic portrait of Horea, emblematic figure of the revolt of 1784 (for a long time, over the iconostasis was the authentic reproduction of Horea’s portrait, the hero of the revolt from 1784; in present, in the Church can be admired its copy, the original being at the Museum of Orthodox Diocese of Oradea)

• The old paintings on wood, the gilded iconostasis

• The stained glasses each realized of 18.000 pieces of glass

• Late Baroque architecture with classical and Byzantine elements

• Memorial museum dedicated to the martyr bishop Roman Ciorogariu

• The bodily remnants of the bishop Roman Ciorogariu, of the bishops Nicolae Popovici and Vasile Coman, together with those of the founders Mihai Cristof and Mihai Puşpechi

• The text from the inscription carved in the stone on the tympanum of the choir loft, written in three languages: Romanian, Greek and Serbian (a sign that the Church was built by citizens of Romanian, Greek (Macedo-Romanians) and Serbian nationality)

• The door of the Church made in a beautiful Byzantine style, with a height of 2.05 m, and a width of 3.45 m

• The large chandelier from the Moon Church that hangs inside the church since 1983; carved in lime wood in hexagonal shape, gilded, has three registers, each with the following dimensions: height 4m, small register diameter 0.6m, middle register diameter 1.10m, large register diameter 2m; the electrified candlesticks form several ornamental bouquets that make of this decorative element a valuable adornment

• The marble sculpture made in 1970

Other tourist attractions nearby:

• Greek-Catholic Cathedral Saint Nicholas

• Black Eagle Palace

• Roman-Catholic Church Saint Ladislaus

• The City Hall Palace and the City Hall Tower

• The Neolog Synagogue Zion

• The Capuchins Complex (Str. Traian Moșoiu nr.1)

• The Orthodox Synagogue ”Hevra Sas” (Str. Mihai Viteazul nr. 6)

• Holocaust Monument (Str. Mihai Viteazul nr. 4)

Sources:

Péter I. Zoltán: 3 secole de arhitectură orădeană, Oradea, Muzeului Ţării Crişurilor Publishing House, 2003.
Liviu Borcea: Memoria Caselor, Biblioteca Județeană Gheorghe Șincai Publishing House Oradea, 2003.

 

Leave a Reply