Sfintilor Street

Sfinților Street and Sfinților Church

Sfinților STreet, which connects with Calea Moșilor, has been described in literary works including “The Double Life of Spiridon V. Vădastra” by Mircea Eliade: “Until around 1925, on Sfinților Street, not far from the church, there was a house of a poor and sad appearance, which had a vacant lot nearby. Through this vacant lot – once enclosed with a few old fences, torn down and used as firewood by neighbors during the harsh winter of 1917 – passed all those who wanted to reach Calea Moșilor faster.” Additionally, the author lived on this street where he apparently wrote his early works, just like Iuliu Maniu.

Anton Pann also reached the church with the “sibyls” in the Sfinților Mahalaua in the winter of 1812. He experienced difficult times due to poverty, and at only 16 years old, he managed to become a singer at the Sfinților Church or Church with Sibyls, being noticed for his exceptional voice.

Denumirea străzii și a Bisericii Sfinților
Sfintilor Street - Palatul Noblesse
The street doesn’t bear this name by chance; its name is closely related to the small church at its end, which is called the Church with Sibyls or Church of Saints (Biserica Sfinților). This place of worship was originally built from wood in the 17th century by Popa Hera or Fierea from Băjesti-Ilfov, who later became a monk under the name of Filotei Monahul. Between 1689 and 1720, the church and the neighborhood were called “Popa Hierea” or “Biserica cu Sibile,” and only in the 19th century did it also come to be known as the “Church with Saints.”
It was rebuilt in stone in 1828 and represents a unique case in the Romanian Orthodox landscape because it was painted on the outside with images of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. This is a recognition of universal values of thought, which Orthodoxy accepted from the beginning. The representations of these ancient figures are rendered according to the canons of the Eastern Church. Therefore, throughout the centuries, ordinary people likened the ancient philosophers to saints and named the church “Biserica cu Sfinți.” But it is also called the “church with sibyls.” Here is another important and unique plastic and symbolic detail in the Romanian Orthodox landscape. The exterior walls of the church are also painted with ancient female figures, contemporaneous with the philosophers mentioned above, who were called “sibyls.” Sibyls were in antiquity “those through whom the gods spoke”; they were priestesses, prophetesses, seers, and servants of oracles in the Greco-Roman world. In antiquity, they were encountered throughout the Mediterranean region, and early Christianity knew them closely. “At least from the perspective of these two details of symbolic and imagistic representation, the church on Sfinților Street represents a historical curiosity that must be emphasized,” says historian Adrian Majuru in the work dedicated to the revival of this house.
In the early 19th century, the Sfinților Mahalaua was part of the central sector of the city, called the Red Color, when Bucharest was divided administratively for the first time. It was on the northeast edge of the Red Color, which became, within a single generation, an important financial part of the modern city.
The Sfinților Street and Church, which are in the immediate vicinity of the Palatul Noblesse, were part of the identity of that area, creating a unified whole, an architectural ensemble with a strong significance.