The oldest church in Bucharest, the Old Court Church, also known as St. Anton Church, was consecrated this Sunday after a series of repair and restoration works. From Monday, priests and congregation can once again pray inside the temple after a period in which divine services were performed only outside, in the summer altar.
The service was officiated by Bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, Vicar of the Romanian Patriarch. Thousands of lay people flocked to the temple courtyard to hear his messages and pray with him, and then had the opportunity to pass through the holy altar.
The oldest church in Bucharest dates back to the mid-16th century. It was once made of wood, and the coronation of Romanian princes took place there, but in the 19th century an earthquake and fires caused significant damage to it. Nicolae Ceausescu planned to destroy it completely, but the then chief architect of Bucharest managed to dissuade him.
Bulgarian Ivan Bakaloglu was buried next to the St. Anton Church. On the tombstone there is a text in Bulgarian, which reads: “Here lies Ivan Bakaloglu, a Bulgarian from Gabrovo, born on January 18, 1801, died on January 16, 1886, awarded by the Russian emperor with the Order of St. Sevastian”.
In 2017, the church enriched its heritage with a piece of the relics of its patron, Saint Anthony the Great. It was brought from the abbey church of Saint Anthony from the Dauphin region of France, located 60 kilometers from the city of Grenoble. A miraculous icon of the Pious is also kept in the temple.
The month of May will be dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, the temple said. On Sunday prayers were dedicated to “Mary – Queen of Peace, so that the good God will change the hearts of those who support the war, so that peace can be achieved as soon as possible”.