Church of the Holy Apostles
Monastery / Church
The Church of the Holy Apostles is an architectural and religious monument of great value in Craiova, located near the central area, at 1, St. Apostles street.
The church, which is dedicated to Saint Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29), is one of the oldest in the city, built in the XVth century - the beginning of the XVIth century and later restored.
The current appearance, in a unique architectural style, dates back from the middle of the XIXth century.
According to the architectural plan, the exterior decoration, the apparent brick system, the size of the church, but also the documentary evidence, the construction of the Church of the Holy Apostles dates back around the XVth-XVIth centuries.
Thus, in a donation document belonging to Matei Basarab this church is mentioned in 1635, when a donation of 80 gold coins was made in order to repair the church, which means that it had, at that time, a considerable age.
Moreover, the current inscription indicates 1784 as the year the church was erected, but the text is written over another one in a Cyrillic-Latin mixed alphabet, indicating that the church is much older.
At the time of its construction, the church was surrounded by solid fencing walls and was located on the outskirts of the city.
It was rebuilt in brick between 1781 and 1784 by Father Hristea, the archimandrite Antim and Matei Brânzan, assisted by the boyars and merchants in the area, especially by the guild of shoemakers.
The "Church of Father Hristea" was built in the shape of a cross, with two open towers, an open porch supported on stone columns and two stone pillars in the interior, between the nave and the narthex, with one meter thick walls, made of narrow brick.
On February 5th, 1784, Father Hristea consecrated the Church of the Holy Apostles to the Bishopric of Ramnicu and was ordained, taking the name of Hariton the Hieromonk, to serve the holy altar.
In 1791, Father Hristea donated all his wealth to the church, including his land properties.
Matei Brânzan, who appears in the donation document next to Father Hristea, is among the oldest known shoemakers in Craiova, a guildmaster who contributed to the painting of the church.
The church was severely damaged by the earthquakes that hit Craiova in the XIXth century, especially those of October 1802 and January 1838, when the steeples and the vaults fell, and the porch collapsed.
The repair involved replacing the two brick steeples with one made of wood. The condition of the church worsened once again and new repairs were needed. In 1855, during the reign of Barbu Știrbei and with the help of Saint Calinic, Bishop of Râmnic and Severin, the shoemaker guild, led by the guildmaster Petcu, constructed the bell tower using brick, closed the porch and repaired the church, except the towers and the interior vaults, and erected a wooden tower covered with tin over the narthex.
The original painting, in fresco, was executed in 1788 by Popa Gheorghe - painter, using as a model the older fresco of the church, of which some samples can still be seen today in the narthex.
In 1855, the church was covered with a layer of lime on which a new oil painting was made by the painter Costache Petrescu from Craiova (the one who also painted in Craiova the Mantuleasa Church and the Church of St. Ioan-Hera).
In 1883 and 1903, the painting was washed and partially restored.
Between 1987-1994, among other works at the Church of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul, the restoration of the original painting was completed with the new painting, in the areas where it was missing.
The painting was entirely restored by the painter Dan Neamu - contract holder and coordinator, (he also restored the painting of the churches of Saint Gheorghe cel Nou, Mantuleasa, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Dumitru), along with the painter Teodora Ianculescu Spătaru ( who restored the painting in the altar), Prof. Dumitru Budică (who polished the iconostasis), painter Adrian Bănica (who painted the tower in the narthex and the porch, under the coordination of the painter Dan Neamu).