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Balinesti Church

Bucovina Map - Balinesti Church

Year Built: 1499
Built by: Ioan Tăutu
Location: Bălineşti, Suceava County
Summary: The shape of the church is simple. The rectangular body with no side apses and a polygonal east apse was common enough during the time of Stephen the Great, but the rounded west end is unique.

Balinesti Church

Balinesti Church seen from the southeast.

Two rows of niches, smaller above and larger below, encircle the church on all façades. The southern side differs from the others: an open porch, with high gothic stone arcades, surmounted by a bell tower, is set around the entrance to the church. In the larger niches of the east apse, and on the east and west façades, are traces of exterior wall paintings.
These exterior paintings were executed during the time of Petru Rareş, 1535-1538. Judging from the beautiful images of St. Nicholas and The Archangel Michael, situated in two niches on the east apse, and from some traces of the paint layer on the same apse, the exterior painting must have been of remarkable quality. On the west end of the church, there are traces of The Last Judgment.
This exterior painting was applied over the first decoration of the church façades, rows of brown, yellow and green enamelled ceramic discs.

Balinesti Church

St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the church, in a niche on the south façade. The painting dates from the time of Petru Rareş, 1535-1538.

The discs were decorated with fantastic creatures taken from occidental bestiaries or with heraldic topics in relief. Rows of discs surround the whole upper part of the church, and form a bright composition on the façades of the porch. This type of ornamentation is characteristic of Stephen the Great’s epoch, and is absent after the end of his reign.
The porch connects the exterior with the interior. It has three open sides, with pointed arches, and is covered with an authentically Gothic ribbed vault. The vault is supported by consoles with botanic decoration. Where the ribs join, there are bosses of floral shape. The intrados and inner sides of the arches are decorated with painted medallions. On the intrados of the south arch are depicted Bishops, while on the lunette above is Jesus Emmanuel Adored by Angels.

On the east arch are medallions with Apostles and above them is God as The Old of Days flanked by the two archangels, Michael and Gabriel. On the west arch are Prophets . Above them is the scene of Deisis (The Intercession Prayer), with Christ in the middle, and The Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist on the sides. The beautiful south portal has a wide moulded frame of pointed Gothic shape. On its lunette, there is the representation of the delicate figure of the Holy Virgin embracing the Child Jesus tenderly.


Address: Balinesti village, Gramesti, 727285, Suceava County
Phone: + 40 (723) 437544

Bucovina Travel Guide