Stephen the Great (1433-1504)

Stephen the Great

1433 It seems that this year Stephen III, called Stephen the Great, was born in Borzesti, Bacau County, Romania today. He was Moldavia’s Prince for 47 years, the longest reign in Moldavia’s history. He is famous for his known fights against Ottoman Empire, Hungarian and Polish Kingdoms, but also because of the churches and monasteries built during his reign, some of them are nowadays on the list of world heritage.

1457 This year Stephen was crowned after he had removed Petru Aron. This had killed Stephen’s father, Bogdan II. Helped by Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), Walachia’s Prince, Stephen the Great defeated Aron during the battles at Doljesti and Orbic, being crowned on “Justice Plain” as crown prince of Moldavia’s throne.

1467 Battle from Baia (the first Moldavia’s voivodal residence) happened, against Hungary’s king, Matei Corvin. This got upset because Stephen had given Hotin fortress to Polish King Cazimir. Hungarian army was defeated and Matei Corvin was wounded by three arrows and by a dart blow.

1475 On the 10th of January the battle in a place called High Bridge took place. Stephen’s army killed the 120.000 Turkish soldiers sent by Mohammed II, led by Hadam Suleiman Pasha. Turks wanted to punish Stephen because he had interfered in the affairs of Walachia’s reign. The great Turkish army staggered and crumbled during a terrible clutter. The swampy place, the fog, the unknown place increased Turks’ flurry and made them leave.

1976 Turks came back led by Mohammed II himself and started the attacks over Suceava, Neamt and Hotin fortresses, but they did not conquer them. Mohammed decided to retire after he had found out that Stephen was preparing a new army, that Hungarian and Polish were closer to Moldavia’s border with arms. He left Moldavia harassed by Stephen troops and his victory did not mean Prince and his country’s submission.

1497 Stephen withstood an invasion led by the new Polish King Ioan Albert who destroyed the Polish army at Cosminului Forest.

1498 This year Stephen fought back and went with his army close to Krakow, Poland’s capital during that period.

1499 He concluded a peace treaty with Poland based on equal at Harlau.

1503 This year Stephen concluded a treaty with Sultan Baiazid II, which ensured Moldavia’s independence in exchange for a tribute payment to the Sultan.

1504 On the 2nd of July, sick and gouty, Stephen the Great died at Suceava. His body was buried at Putna Momastery. Grigore Ureche wrote about this event: “And Prince Stephen was mournfully and crying buried by people in Putna Monastery, that was built by him, mourning was because all were crying as if one of their parents had died...”.

During his reign Moldavia developed very much. Fighting from the same to the same against his stronger neighbours, Stephen the Great succeeded to impose Moldavia a state with almost equal rights. He built 44 churches and monasteries, one for each won battle, according to tradition.

1992 On the 15th of July, Stephen the Great was canonized by Romanian Orthodox Church.

2006 On the 21st of October, within “Great Romanians” on TVR1, 77.349 viewers, 21.30% of all votes, voted Stephen the Great as “the greatest Romanian of all times”.[1]






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