Madona Dudu Icon

Address: Craiova, str. Madona Dudu, nr. 13

Contacts: +40 741 013 616 / +40 722 244 468 (Madona Dudu Church)

Near the centre of Craiova, the largest church in Bănie Fortress, Madona Dudu Cathedral or Maica Precista de la Dud, rises. The name under which the church is known is related to a beautiful local legend.

It is said that, in ancient times, on the place where the church is now, there was an orchard of mulberry trees and, in its immediate vicinity, there was a market. An old Jewish merchant, having finished selling the goods on the market, entered the orchard and laid in the shadow of a mulberry tree. When he woke up, the merchant saw something shining in the bushes of the tree. Without thinking, he climbed the tree, where he discovered, in the foliage of the mulberry tree, a beautiful icon of the Virgin Mary engraved on the wood. His nature of merchant urged him to take the icon and try to sell it. He put it in the back pack and took it home, where he hid it in the attic. The next day, the merchant went up to the attic to take the icon and go with it to the fair, but he did not find it where he had put it. The Jew was greatly upset, believing that someone had stolen his icon in secret.

The next day, the merchant went to the market again and, after selling his goods, went to the orchard to rest in the shade of the mulberry tree. But there, looking among the branches of the same old mulberry tree, he saw again the icon, which had not even blinked from its place. He got up quickly, took the icon and put it in the sack, intending to start right at an innkeeper that was his customer, telling him that he had for sale a very beautiful icon, brought just from Jerusalem. Before buying it, the innkeeper asked to see the icon; but when the Jew opened the bag, it disappeared.

Not long after, the merchant found the icon in the orchard tree again. Then, believing himself to be a divine sign, the Jew informed the owner of the orchard, who decided to erect a wooden church to cover the holy icon and to be a place of worship for the Maica Precista. Since then, the church would carry on the dedication of the Maica Precista de la Dud, a name that later became Latinized, becoming “Madona Dudu”.

The first documentary attestation of the Madona Dudu Church in Craiova dates back to 1758, when, it is said, the church was built on the site of an older, wooden one. It was later restored in 1844, after being severely affected by the earthquake in 1831. Throughout the nineteenth century, the church was destroyed several times, either burned down by the Turks or affected by earthquakes. The church was demolished in 1913 and rebuilt in its current form between 1928-1938. Legend says that from these disasters only the icon of the miracle-maker of the Jewish merchant in doubt had escaped. Even thieves who have passed the threshold of the church over the years have failed to steal the icon of the Virgin Mary.

The priests at the Madona Dudu Church tell how, in the summer of 2004, a group of researchers from the Oxford Institute came to Craiova to analyse the energy fields emanating from the miracle icon. According to them, when the researchers approached the measuring devices with the icon, they recorded results similar to the energy fields characteristic of a living person.

The Madona Dudu Church in Craiova remains one of the most well-known and visited Orthodox churches in the city. The threshold is passed daily by both the believers who come to attend the holy services or to worship at the miracle icon of the Virgin Mary, as well as tourists attracted here by the history, architecture and legends around the church.



• Teodor Danalache, “Madona Dudu Church in Craiova”,

• “Craiova: The iconographic specialists about the icon Madona Dudu: It’s almost alive!”, 2 April 2010,

• Ioniță Apostolache, “The Legend of the Church “Madona Dudu”, 17 March 2009,

• “Craiova: Madona Dudu, Church surrounded by energy fields, has been declared a historical monument”, 21 October 2010,

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