St Stephen the Great

Saint Stephen succeeded his father, Prince Bogdan II, as Prince of Moldavia on April 12, 1457 soon after the latter was murdered. He defended his country against the Turks, and he also built many churches and monasteries.

St Stephen the Great was a spiritual son of St Daniel the Hesychast (December 18), who told him that if he built a church after every battle he would be victorious in all his wars. Following St Daniel’s counsel, St Stephen won forty-seven battles and built forty-eight churches or monasteries. He also built the Putna Dormition Monastery in northern Moldavia in 1466 when St Daniel urged him to do so.

In 1476, St Stephen lost the battle of Razboieni to the Turks. He went to visit St Daniel at the Voronets Monastery to ask whether or not he should surrender the country to the Moslems. St Daniel told him not to surrender, because he would soon win a decisive victory. St Daniel also told him that after he had saved the nation, Stephen should build a monastery in honor of St George at that place. Having faith in St Daniel’s prophecy, Stephen went forth with his army and drove the Turks from the country.

St Stephen fell asleep in the Lord on July 2, 1504, and was buried at the Putna Monastery. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.