Places of interest03 July 2024

Stephen the Great of Moldavia: Hero of Legends and Defender of Christianity

Who was Stephen the Great? What do foreigners say about Stephen the Great?

Stephen the Great, the Voivode of Moldavia

Stephen the Great, the Voivode of Moldavia

Stephen the Great was the Voivode of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. Born in 1433, he ascended to the throne after a victory against Petru Aron, his uncle and political rival. His reign, which lasted nearly five decades, is considered one of the most glorious periods in Moldavian history, marked by numerous military victories, state consolidation, and remarkable cultural and religious development.

Stephen the Great was known for his courage and military skills, being a perfect strategist. At the same time, he was a just leader, devoted to his people, with a charismatic personality and a will of iron. He was a pious ruler, respected by both his subjects and his enemies.

The Legacy Left by Stephen the Great

Beyond his military victories against the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Kingdom of Hungary, Stephen the Great brought numerous contributions internally:

* Construction of Churches and Monasteries:

* Stephen erected over 40 churches and monasteries, many of which are now included in the UNESCO heritage. These buildings are notable examples of medieval architecture and art.

* Infrastructure Improvement: He fortified Moldavia's fortresses and built new ones to ensure the country's defense.

* Economic Development: He promoted trade and supported agriculture, creating favorable conditions for Moldavia's economic development.

What were Stephen the Great's habits?

Stephen the Great was known for his habit of praying and fasting before major battles, seeking divine assistance for victory. After each significant victory, he would customarily build a church or monastery as a sign of gratitude to God. Legend has it that he was invincible in battle due to his unwavering faith and constant prayers.The

Importance of Stephen the Great in European History

Stephen the Great is recognized as a defender of Christianity against Ottoman expansion. He played a crucial role in maintaining the balance of power in the region and was considered a bulwark of Christianity in Eastern Europe. His victory at Vaslui (1475) against a large Ottoman army was praised by Pope Sixtus IV, who called him "the athlete of Christ."

Politics and Diplomacy Implemented During His Reign

Stephen the Great was a skilled diplomat, managing to maintain balanced relations with the major powers of the time: Poland, Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. He used marriages and political alliances to strengthen his position and gain military and economic support.

What do foreigners say about Stephen the Great?

Foreigners spoke with respect about Stephen the Great. Foreign chronicles describe him as a powerful leader and a remarkable military strategist. The Popes of Rome considered him a defender of Christianity, and his Ottoman enemies feared and respected him for his war skills. His European contemporaries admired him for his resistance against the Ottomans and for maintaining Moldavia's independence.


Stephen the Great remains one of the most emblematic figures in the history of Romania and Eastern Europe. With his courage, faith, and devotion, he managed to leave a lasting legacy that continues to be admired and respected even today.

The tomb of Stephen the Great at the Putna Monastery is a sacred place of prayer for many Romanians who come to pay homage to him even today. Crowds of believers form long lines to pray at his grave, recognizing his role as a protector of Christianity and a national hero. It is one of the few cases where, after so many centuries, people continue to honor and remember him as a saint, highlighting the profound and lasting impact he had on Romanian history and spirituality.





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