Posted on 2019-08-06    Category Places to visit


The St. Alexander and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Sulina is a historical monument of architecture located on I Street, no. 200, from Sulina, Tulcea County. The cathedral is an Orthodox worship center where the services of the Sulina Parish, commissioned by the Tulcea Ecumenical Patriarchate , are held.

The edifice, founded by King Carol I, was erected in honor of the liberation of Dobrogea from the rule of the Turks after the War of Independence. The cathedral was dedicated to St. Alexander because on his day of commemoration in 1877, on 30 August, the Romanian army occupied the retreat of Griviţa 1. The cathedral is also dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the sailor's protector.  The cathedral is built in the neo-Romanian style, after a project by the architect Nicolae C. Mihăescu. The interior painting is made by Professor Gheorghe Răducanu, while the medallions with saints on the exterior façade are made of Murano glass venetian mosaic by the painter Dumitru Norocea.

The edifice has a triconic (cross-shaped) plan and is decorated with three spiers. There are seven crosses on the roof, one on each of the three towers and one on the east, west, north and south. The three turrets of the cathedral are positioned as follows: a central, circular inner and outer polygonal pylon, and two octagonal towers above the central sidewalks.

The trip is an oversized one, with three ships, and the nave is provided with curved apses inside. The altar has a semicircular shape inside and polygonal on the outside. The cathedral has a café, a balcony where the choir sings, and it is extended to the side. Access to the cathedral is through two porches built on the western and northern facades.   The construction of the cathedral from Sulina dates back to the end of the Independence War, when Dobrogea was joined Romania. In 1882, the Romanian government provided 80,000 lei for the construction of a cathedral in the city at the mouth of the Danube, but the money was redistributed because it was not possible to find a suitable land for its location. It was intended that the new edifice to be built on the Danube and be visible from the sea. In the spring of 1899, however, the land, which corresponds to the initial requirements, was purchased. In addition to the money insured from the state budget, parish priest Ioan Gheorghiu starts a public subscription in 1906 for the purpose of collecting funds for the cathedral. The foundation stone was laid on October 31, 1910, in the presence of King Carol I and the royal family.

The construction of the cathedral was entrusted to a team led by the architect Constantin Nănescu. In the spring of 1911, King Carol I, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth, returned to Sulina to examine the cathedral's plans. Until 1912, the cathedral was raised and wrapped in copper sheets brought from London by the Survanos brothers, great Greek merchants. The foundation was built on oak pillars donated by the European Commission of the Danube, and the materials, workmanship and machinery were provided by the Sulina Shipyard. With all this progress, the works were stopped in the same year for lack of funds.

On May 24, 1932, following a visit he made to Sulina accompanied by Prince Mihai, King Carol II ordered the resumption of works at the cathedral. On August 14, 1932, also following the visit, the Construction Committee was established, a public institution that had to deal with raising funds to complete the edifice. The Committee included, among others, Bishop Cosma of the Lower Danube, Sulina's parson priest Simion Vârgolici, writer Gala Galaction and former senator and mayor of Sulina, Gheorghe B. Popescu.   The works at the cathedral began on April 30, 1933. At the end of the same year, the Construction Committee launched a public subscription call "to all the good people, praying earnestly to give their obedience, however small, to the completion of this historical foundation [...] ".    Until the beginning of the Second World War, the exterior of the cathedral had been completely finished, including the holy medallions made on the facade by the painter Dumitru Norocea, but the interior work had not yet been approached.
The third stage of the construction

During the war, the city of Sulina was occupied by the German army, and the German Military Navy installed a point of observation in the old lighthouse on the left bank of the Danube. The city was intensely bombarded and suffered greatly; the blasts also affected the edifice of St. Alexander and Saint Nicholas Cathedral. After the war, the slow-moving repairs were completed only in 1974. Between 1976 and 1982 the interior works were started and finished, including the fresco painting by the painter Gheorghe Răducanu.
The cathedral's sanctification service took place on September 5, 1982.