The edifice known as ”the Moon Church” is one of the emblematic monuments of the city. The foundation stone of the church was laid down in 1784 by Petru Petrovici, Bishop of Arad. The construction was finished in 1790 based on the plans of architect Éder Jakab.
From a stylistic point of view, the church belongs to the late provincial Baroque style, whose decorative exuberance is attenuated by neo-classical stylistic elements such as, for example, the designs rhythmically punctuating the façade, designs that are crowned by chapiters with Ionic volutes, or the ample “triumphal”-like arches that accentuate the windows. The tower on the western side, surmounting a narrow naos, showcases a stratified succession of late Baroque and neo-classical stylistic elements, such as the two “mirrored panels” flanking the oculus with the globe of “the Moon,” panels that end at the extremities with monumental Empire-style vessels. This Baroque register is surmounted by a discreet triangular neo-classicist pediment, which itself supports the Baroque volumetry of the tower. This is crowned by a metallic spire modeled in the eclectic spirit, with Byzantine accents (the four Evangelists are painted in the style of Eastern icons).
In the interior, the church-hall planimetry is adapted to the specifics of the Orthodox religion by marking a narrow narthex surmounted by an ample choir. The naos is also amplified near the altar through two large niches with a rectangular treseu that suggests the Eastern triconque planimetry. Another spectacular element is the decoration of the iconostasis, the most representative liturgical piece of furniture. Also remarkable from a visual point of view is the sculpture of the cathedra and the pulpit. The decoration is created based on the models of the time, which combined rococo, Empire, late Baroque and neoclassical elements into a grand overall vision.
The building was consecrated in 1832, after the completion of the interior decorations.
Georg Rueppe’s mechanism
The edifice was spared from the destruction caused by the great fire of 1836, and so, its original form is intact to this day. Its architectonic expressivity is due to the invaluable and interesting mixture of Byzantine and late Central-European Baroque art. After the foundation of the Orthodox Bishopric of Oradea in 1920, the “Moon Church” was re-ranked as a cathedral. We will mention two of the particularities that grant it its uniqueness: the medallion portrait of Horea situated on the keystone of the arch between the naos and the apse of the altar, an image that crowns the iconostasis, and the mechanism created by Georg Rueppe in 1793 and placed in the cathedral’s tower. The ingenious mechanism, through its half-golden, half-black globe, indicates the lunar phases.