In the extreme north of Romania, at a stone’s throw from Botosani there is monument unique in the world. The half-Catholic half-Orthodox church in the village of Hilişeu-Crişan is 200 years old and has a legend that has passed centuries. The Orthodox wooden church from Hiliseu Crisan was originally erected by Vasile Curt – the boyar ruling that piece of land – in 1802 according to the inscription found above the entrance door. You’ll also learn that the church was completed years later by his nephew Alecu who built in 1932 the bell tower and the exterior stone wall.
The Legend of the Church in Hiliseu-Crisan
The legend talks about the love story between Alecu Curt and a young noblewomen from Transylvania, Ana who became his wife. He was Orthodox, she was a Catholic and to celebrate their love, they have completed the original setting by adding Roman Catholic, elements to it. In a way, that was the first time the two main Christian Churches were reunited after the 1032
The style and architectural elements of the wooden church and the stone wall
The church, unique in Europe, is an early example of the ecumenism, blending harmoniously the specific Orthodox Christian architectural elements (made of wood) with those specific for the Roman Catholics (in the shaft of the bell tower, above the old entrance, there is the image of the Savior between two angels; to his right and left, on the ridge of the stone wall, are the statues of the 12 Apostles, in the size of the human state, all elements representative for the Catholic style). The sculptures bear the characteristics of Baroque art.
Inside the old wooden church, in the nave, is the tomb of the founder, the boyar Vasile Curt, and above the porch the effigy of the boyar family, which is represented by two dragons who are chained to each other. Their real meaning is still a mystery to this day, so if you happen to have some knowledge in the area that can reveal the meaning of the effigy, please make sure you let us know :)
The setting is unfortunately not in a good shape today, requiring serious restoration works but hopefully local authorities will find the resources to do it and insert the church into a national tourist circuit as it so well deserves.
Till than, if you are traveling to the region, just make sure you do not miss this landmark. The landscape is also magical, surrounded by old woodlands cradled over the hills.