Bucharest Russian Church
St. Nicholas Russian Church (Romanian: Biserica Rusă) is located in central Bucharest, Romania, just off University Square. Russian Ambassador Mikhail Nikolaevich Giers initiated the building of a Russian Orthodox church in central Bucharest in 1905. It was meant mainly for the use of the legation employees, as well as for Russians living in the capital city of the Kingdom of Romania.
The Court of Emperor Nicholas II provided the funds needed for the building (600,000 gold rubles). The structure occupies a surface of 350 m² and it was set in brick and stone. The seven domes (taking the shape of onion domes — characteristic of Russia, but unusual in Romania) were initially covered in gold. The iconostasis was carved in wood and then covered in gold, following the model of Church of the Twelve Apostles in the Moscow Kremlin; it was then decorated by the painter Viktor Vasnetsov.
The church was finished in 1909, and it was sanctified on November 25, 1909. During World War I, just before the start of the occupation of Bucharest by the Central Powers, it was closed, while all valuables and the archives were transported to Iaşi and then farther to Saint Petersburg, where they vanished during the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the war, physical damage was repaired by the Russian community in Bucharest, with services starting again in 1921. As the service was held in Old Church Slavonic, it was also attended by ethnic Bulgarians and Serbs in the Romanian capital.
As the old Russian priest had died, in 1935 the church was transferred under the authority of the Romanian Government, which meant it for the use of the students and professors at the University of Bucharest. In 1947, at the request of Soviet authorities, the church passed once again under the Patriarchate of Moscow, which named a new Russian priest, also providing the funds for its refurbishment. In 1957 Patriarch Alexius I decided to pass it again to the Romanian Orthodox Church, which had it restored once again. It was sanctified again in 1967 and in 1992 it was again given for the use of the students and professors at the University of Bucharest. Because of its present congregation it is also known as Biserica studenţilor ("The students' church").
- Radu Olteanu, Bucureştii în date şi întâmplări ("Bucharest in facts and events"), Editura Paideia, Bucharest 2002