Stephen III of Moldavia bigraphy, stories - Prince of Moldavia and saint

Stephen III of Moldavia : biography

1432 - July 2, 1504

Stephen III of Moldavia (also known as Stefan the Great, , or Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt, "Stefan the Great and Holy"; 1433 – July 2, 1504) was Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504 and the most prominent representative of the House of Mușat.

During his reign, he strengthened Moldavia and maintained its independence against the ambitions of Hungary, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire, which all sought to subdue the land. Stephen achieved fame in Europe for his long resistance against the Ottomans. He was victorious in 46 of his 48 battles, and was one of the first to gain a decisive victory over the Ottomans at the Battle of Vaslui, after which Pope Sixtus IV deemed him verus christianae fidei athleta (true Champion of Christian Faith). He was a man of religion and displayed his piety when he paid the debt of Mount Athos to the Porte, ensuring the continuity of Athos as an autonomous monastical community.


Moldovan 1 leu banknote.]] Though it was marked by continual strife, Stephen's long reign brought considerable cultural development; many churches and monasteries were erected by Stephen himself; some of which, including Voroneț, are now part of UNESCO's World Heritage sites.

Stephen was seen as holy by many Christians, soon after his death. He has been canonized a saint by the Romanian Orthodox Church under the name "The Right-believing Voivode Stephen the Great and the Holy".

In a 2006 Romanian national television campaign on TVR 1 (see Mari Români), Stephen III was voted by almost 40,000 viewers as the "Greatest Romanian" of all times.

Coins and banknotes

Old Romanian 20 lei coin.]] Stephen the Great's image was used on coins and banknotes both in Romania and Moldova.

The Romanian leu, the currency used in Romania, features Stephen on the coins of 20 lei, issued in the 1990s. These coins are no longer in use.

The Moldovan leu, established on November 29, 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the independent republic of Moldova, features Stephen the Great on the front side of all the banknotes.


The Stephen the Great Monument is a prominent monument in Chişinău, opposite the main government building. A monumental equestrian statute of Stephan the Great exists in Iași, in the square in front of the neogothic grand Palace, while another equestrian statue exists in Suceava, near the medieval citadel. Many other statues and monuments dedicated to Stephan the Great feature prominently in all the major cities in the region of Moldavia, eastern Romania, the western part of the former Principality of Moldavia, as well as on the site of some of the most important battles that he fought.


Stephen, and his victory at Vaslui, were the subject of a 1975 film, Ștefan cel Mare – Vaslui 1475, by Romanian director Mircea Drăgan.


Stephen the Great is perceived by the Romanian Orthodox Church as a defender of the faith, of the Church, and the whole of Christianity. Stephen's opposition to the Ottoman Empire protected the entirety of Europe from an invasion. After the Battle of Vaslui, Pope Sixtus IV named Stephen "the Champion of Christ" (Athleta Christi). It is said that he built 44 churches and monasteries (see List of churches established by Stephen III of Moldavia), one for each battle that he won (44 out of a total of 48). At the end of the 20th century, the Romanian Orthodox Church decided to canonize Stephen. The canonization was enacted on June 20, 1992 by the Synodic Council of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Stephen is called "Saint Voivode Stephen the Great". His feast day in the Romanian Orthodox calendar is July 2, the day of his death.


Menaced by powerful neighbours, he successfully repelled an invasion by the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, defeating him in the Battle of Baia (in 1467), crushed an invading Tatar force at Lipnic and invaded Wallachia in 1471 (the latter had by then succumbed to Ottoman power and had become its vassal). When the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II launched a retaliatory attack on Moldavia, Stephen defeated the invaders at the Battle of Vaslui in 1475, a victory which temporarily halted the Turkish advance. Stephen was defeated at Războieni (Battle of Valea Albă) the next year, but the Ottomans had to retreat after they failed to take any significant castle (see siege of Cetatea Neamțului) as a plague started to spread in the Ottoman army. Stephen's search for European assistance against the Turks met with little success, even though he had "cut off the pagan's right hand" – as he put it in a letter.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine