“Today July 11, 1921, on the anniversary day of Romanian soldiers victory, the anniversary of the enemies defeat and the liberation of Mărăşti village of foreign invasion, under our Glorious Reign of King Ferdinand I and our glorious Queen Maria, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Carol of Romania and Princess Elena, in the presence of the representatives of the Government, chaired by Prime Minister General Alexander Averescu, members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, military attachés of allied and friendly powers, envoys and delegates of all major state institutions and villagers from MĂRĂŞTI region, with the blessing and prayers of IPSS Miron Cristea archbishop of Romania and all the priests present, we have set a new steering committee of «Mărăşti» Society, presided by Major General Alexandru Mărgineanu, for eternal remembrance of the sufferings of the country and the eternal reminder of the bravery to Romanian armies, this parchment in the cornerstone of this halidom, rebuilt by «Mărăşti” Society on the place of the old one, demolished by the German occupation troops in 1917. Reverend and devotional reverence brought to Heavenly Providence for ever patronizing our people “, is written in the act of foundation of the church built by ” Mărăşti ” Society in the village destroyed by bombing.
This was the time when was set the foundation stone of what will become Mărăşti new village church, rebuilt by “Mărăşti” Society after the Romanian army bombed it four years ago, in the first day of the Battle of Mărăşti. It was built on the site of the old one, finalized in 1928 and inaugurated on July 9/22, right on the very day that the battles that changed the fate of the World War First began.
That first day of the Battle of Marasti, General Alexandru Mărgineanu called the priest of 3rd Infantry Division and asked him:
– Father, what is the patron Saint of this day?
– St. Mary Magdalene, replied the priest.
– Then, it is a lucky day, father!, exclaimed the General, then continued: “I pledge now, to death […] that if God helps us to obtain victory, the church of Mărăşti village, which is destroyed by our guns, I will rebuild it as beautiful as no other, and I will give her the patron saint of Mary Magdalene, who is also the day of our Queen Mary.”
The original inscription of the church was written in marble and located left of the entrance door, and it says: “This holy and Godly church was built from the ground during the reign of our glorious King Ferdinand I and Her Majesty Queen Mary by Mărăşti Society, founded on the battlefield in 1917 by all army soldiers of the IXth Army, under the honorary presidency of General and commander of it(at the time nn) Alexandru Averescu, and under active presidency of General Alexandru Mărgineanu, commander of the 3rd Division. It was built to replace the old church MĂRĂŞTI, broken down by guns in battle from Mărăşti in eternal memory of the heroes who died for their country and it was given the name of Saint Maria Magdalena from July 24, 1928 on the eleventh year from the defeat of the enemies and was consecrated today July 10, 1928 under the reign of HM King Mihai I of Romania and His Royal Highness, Prince Nicolae of Romania, His Holiness Patriarch Miron Christie doctor and of Mr. G. Buzdugan, Senior Regents as head of Romanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church DD Dr. Miron Christea and pastor and protector of Christians from this part of the country His Hollyness D.D.Dr. Pimen, Metropolitan of Moldavia and Suceava and DD Lucian Bishop of Roman and Bacau as the parish priest of the church “.
In the church you can find another inscription dated 1990, representing the date when the church was reconsecrated. On this writing, a different patron saint is noted : “Adormirea Maicii Domnului” (The Assumption)
At the entrance in the church a marble panel with bearing a motto with the signature of Queen Mary :”Let rebuilt with love in the memory of those fallen here”
The church has a stunning painting, in original shape, made by Ionel Ioanid, The winner of byzantinism in religious painting contest from Paris. The painting was finalized on May 1, 1927.
The consecration of Maria Magdalena Church from Marasti took place in June 10, 1928, in a majestic setting, in the presence of the Queen, Government and 2nd Army representatives.
While rebuilding the church it was intended that ” its type to be of Moldovan character” and to fulfill all the canonical rules. As regards to the painting, it should be noted that General Alexandru Mărgineanu initially insisted on Aurel Bordenache to carry out the interior painting of the church.The artist, however, declined the proposal, recommending instead the painter Ionel Ioanid as “the most distinguished painter, the only one who obtained the grand prize in Paris on byzantinism in religious painting competition.”
The church is painted in the Byzantine style and, as required in the contract from July 12, 1926, among the religious works to be realized, there should be also the portraits of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria, on the two places below the choir, and on the right entry, there were painted the portraits of two famous generals, Alexandru Averescu and Alexandru Mărgineanu. On an honoured place, at the entrance of the church, Saint Maria Magdalena was painted, a painting which reminds us for eternity of the patron saint of the sanctuary. Finally, the full painting of the church was completed on May 1, 1927.
The iconostasis was made by sculptor C.M. Babic from Bucharest, as it is written on the back of the Royal Gates.
Then, the endowment of the sanctuary with all necessary treasures followed and at the final reception, on May 29, 1928, the electrification works and all equipment necessary was installed. In addition, bell tower and a parish house were built, their reception being done on June 9, 1928.
“Mărăşti” Society has set a new cemetery of the village, which was initially in the churchyard. The cemetery was relocated in the south part of the village, being surrounded by a solid fence. The initial cemetery turned into a small park where greenery and fruit trees were planted near the church fence, along with climbing roses.
After these works were done, on June 10, 1928, the consecration of the church from Marasti was celebrated in a great feast in the presence of Queen Maria, HRH Prince regent Nicolae, government representatives, clergy, military, delegates from all regiments of the 2nd Army – who participated in the Marasti offensive, together with their flags of units, decorated with the Order of “Mihai Viteazu”. They were joined by students, civil authorities and a large population.
It should be noted that “Mărăşti” Society supported the rebuilding of other places of worship such as Muşunoaiele hermitage, the church from Vizantea Manastireasca and the church from Gogoiu, which was consecrated in 1942.
This website is informative and has been developed using information from public sources or information published by various historians, among which we would like to mention dr. Valeria Balescu, curator at “King Ferdinand I”National Military Museum, Bucharest and dr. Horia Dumitrescu, Director of Vrancea Museum. However, we also provided information from Queen Mary and Marshal Averescu memoirs.