Regio UE GR MDRAP focsani fonduri-ue

”Sf. Imparati Constantin si Elena” Church – Military Chapel (“St. Emperors Constantine and Helene”)


Location: Unirii Blvd., no. 22- 24
In 1696, prince Constantin Brancoveanu by royal decree ordered the execution of more springs for better water supply of the locals from the Wallachian side of Focșani. On the place of the old fountain built by decree of 1696, Serdar Costache Robescu, in 1810, established the foundation of a church that shall be held in high regard and memory of the townspeople in Focșani as „Robescu’s Church”, neighbouring the boyar mansion of Robescu family .
Despite the patronage of Robescu family, the church underwent several disasters that had deteriorated its condition, bringing it on the brink of ruin at the end of the 19th century. These disasters were: the 1838 earthquake which led to the cracking of the tower, the 1854 fire that enveloped the church and its related annexes, where there were stored several religious objects (the valued damage reached 50.000 lei) and the damage caused by the earthquake in November 1940.
In 1893, the church was in ruins, for which purpose, Iancu C. Robescu (grandson of the family) donates the church with its annexes in the yard, to the Military Garrison in Focșani along with 6.000 lei to ensure the rehabilitation project. During the rehabilitation project, the War Ministry, by means of the amounts acquired by donors, but also from the military garrison, restores the previous damage, giving a new life to the place of worship. From 1893 and up to 1st of August 1948 (the law of cults abolished the military circle) the church continuously served as a place of worship for the garrison.
After the 1940 earthquake, the church went through a difficult period between 1941-1943 because Romania was in full World War. In this context, the rehabilitation of the military chapel was due to great efforts made by the soldiers of the garrison, but mostly because of the endeavours of the Division VI commander - Gen. Mihail Lascăr and the priest Teodor Gheorghiu. Within the project of rehabilitation paintings and badly affected decor were refurbished; the rehabilitation work was monitored by military priest: Nicholas Bălănuţă.
The iconostasis of the church was made in 1855, of sculpted wood, with applied icons. The author of these paintings was the painter Basarab, while the veil above the royal doors bore the signature of painter Romano. The paintings made between 1942-1943 were performed by painter A. Cantini from Focșani.
In its long life, the military chapel witnessed important events for the town of Focșani, the church being in 1832 among the first places of worship which received Russian General Pavel Kisellef to an official service.
“On Tuesday morning, December, the 6th as the king of the day began to ascend on the blue firmament, firstly all the troops of “rosiori” (Russian) gathered here at one place and from there on they went in a row behind the musicians up to the so-called Church “of Robescu” from where firstly coming before that church and in a row and after saying three times the utterance as from a single mouth “hatred … it went away.”
Also, under the roof of this church have arrived the bones of Jiu and Muncelu heroine, Ecaterina Teodoroiu, the moment they were transported towards the birthplace of the heroine, Tg. Jiu. On this occasion, for three days, Focsani had paid tribute to the heroine “being highly regarded as the adoptive daughter of Gorj and Vrancea.”
Structurally “the church has the plan in the shape of a ship with porch, narthex, nave and altar, the narthex spire, built below street level at 0.50 m. The narthex houses the tomb of the founders covered by a marble plaque and engraved with the name of the deceased as well as floral decorations. The façades are punctuated by rectangular frames separated by flat profiles of plaster. The main entrance is marked by a triangular gable and vegetal ornamentation.” (National Cultural Heritage built in Vrancea County – Museum of Vrancea).