‘Four Fingers’ Church, Poiana Raftivanului

The church is an orthodox place of worship in the village of Poiana, located on the outskirts of Dolhasca (Suceava county). It is dedicated to the ‘Birth of the Theotokos’. It was built in the mid nineteenth century by boyars Răftivanu and is characterized by four white towers that have the form of the four fingers of one hand. The church is listed as historical monument.

During 1846-1848, the boyars Lupu and Nicolae Răftivanu (with a fortune of more than 300 hectares of arable land and forests) have built a imposing church with four towers, which today serves as a parish church. The presence of the church, but also the presence of an inn built by the boyars, led to the formation of a village that had, for a long time, the name of Poiana Raftivanului (Răftivanului Glade). The age of the church is attested by a bell dating since 1847.

The boyar Lupu Răftivanu apparently escaped the war without the thumb of one hand, which was crushed by a bullet, so wishing to thank God he stayed alive, he ordered the construction of a church. He was asked by the master craftsmen which he had brought from Italy how to do the church, and the boyar raised his hand and, taking up four fingers extended, he said, “This way!”. Although the boyar wanted to show the place where to build the church, the master craftsmen did not understand and they believed that this is how the  new construction should look like. The church was built by the craftsmen fantasy, but it was pleasing to those who ordered the construction.

The church has a height of 14 meters from the ground to the eaves and four spires that keep the proportion of the four fingers of the hand. The church was painted on the inside, and all the frames of the icons were gilded.

The boyars wanted to make it a friary; they starting building a stone wall around the church (3 meters high and almost 2 meters thick) and a building, which had to accommodate, in addition to the refectory, some dormitories.

The church was restored, with support of the locals, in 1948 but since then not much was done in its benefit. Currently the building is in a poor condition and since the local priest built a chapel for the religious services, the old and full of memories building might disappear.

I hope at least these pictures will keep alive the memory of this great monument since people here might not give it another chance.

 Location: Poiana, Dolhasca – Suceava County

0 February 3, 2014 |

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