25th commemoration of Sf Vineri Church demolition

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On June 19, 1987, the Sf Vineri-Hereasca Church, whose saint patron is St Parascheva (dating back to 1645), in the centre of Bucharest, was razed to the ground, exactly on a Friday, under the pretext of Bucharest systematization.

A marble plate reminds passers-by of the religious abode and the wonder-making icon of St Parascheva.

The local believers built the first hermitage in this place in the 13th century. Later, during the reign of Prince Matei Basarab, Nicolae vel Aga had the church built again on the same foundation and in 1749 when Princess Elena and her brother Udriste Nasturel-Herescu took over the duty to give material support to the church, believers started naming it the Sf Vineri-Hereasca Church. In the 18th century the church was materially protected by the Baleanu boyars.

The church was seriously damaged during the earthquake of March 4, 1977 (7.2 degrees on the Richter scale) and Father Gelu Bogdan, who was a deacon of the Sf Vineri Church at that time, was ordained by Patriarch Iustin Moisescu and was given the task and the necessary funds to have it built again.

Work took eight years and cost 2,845,000 lei, an enormous sum of money at that time. On October 14, 1985 the Sf Vineri Church, painted by the famous Dimitrie Belizarie, was sanctified again.

The parishioners’ happiness was short lived as in June 1987 the church got a notice form the city hall requesting it to give up an area of 1,450 square metres around it for a block of flats that was to be built there. The priest and the parish council, which was made up of cultural personalities, refused to give in to this ultimatum and tried to delay things as they had been advised by the Patriarch. On June 14, 1987 the priest held the last liturgy.

After receiving the order to have the church pulled down, Priest Gelu Bogdan, the students of theology and believers tried to save what could still be saved from the patrimony of the religious abode, the books in the magnificence library, the church items, which were taken by Cernica (east of Bucharest), and the ones having a historical value, which were taken to the Herescu Museum. The blasphemy occurred on a Friday, at 6 pm.

The workers called to demolish the church refused to do it and then ordinary detainees were summoned, who were promised to have their sentence shortened. After the demolition, on the place where the holy church used to be, there was a carpet of candles lit by the grieving believers.

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