Saint 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.

Saint Stephen the Great was a spiritual son of Saint 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 Saint Daniel’s counsel, Saint 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 Saint Daniel urged him to do so.

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

Saint 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.