The Boyar, with a Dagger, in a Sibiu Square, or Assassinating Mihnea cel Rău

There are numerous historical stories associated with Sibiu, Transylvania, but the assassination of dark Mihnea Vodă cel Rău, son of Vlad the Impaler, by a boyar, with the dagger, in the church square stands out.

A chilling tale of power and bloodshed unfolds in the quiet town of Sibiu, nestled in the heart of Transylvania. It was 1510, a time when Europe was on the verge of change, and the winds of fate blew both ways.

Sibiu Evangelical Catheral Northern Facade and Brukenthal Statue
Sibiu Evangelical Catheral Southern Facade and Brukenthal Statue – the wind of fate blew both ways that year…

In England, Queen Catherine of Aragon faced the tragedy of a stillborn child casting a pall over the royal court. While Spaniards brought tulips to Europe. A darker drama was unfolding across the sea, in the land of Wallachia. The nobles had revolted against their ruler, Mihnea Vodă cel Rău, the Evil One, a name that sent shivers down the spines of those who dared to utter it.

Mihnea, the son of the legendary Vlad the Impaler, was a man known for unspeakable deeds, supreme cruelty, and unyielding tyranny. He was said to have shed his sheep’s clothing as soon as he ascended to the throne, revealing the wolf beneath.

Eventually, the Wallachian boyars (local aristocrats) exiled Mihnea from his Transalpine Land, possibly due to the weight of their suffering and the promises of his uncle. Mihnea sought refuge in the ancient town of Sibiu together with his wealth, his wife, and a small band of loyal followers.

Today, the main entrance into the Evangelical Church of Sibiu, through the Southern Portal:

A Boyar, with a Dagger, in the Square of the Evangelical Church

The scene was set in this picturesque town, where history echoed from the cobblestone streets and weathered facades of its buildings. The Evangelical Church in Huet Square stood like a silent sentinel, bearing witness to centuries of history.

A somber chapter unfolded on a spring day in the vibrant heart of a medieval town. The very embodiment of malevolence, Voivode Mihnea cel Rău, met his harrowing end within these ancient streets. Mihnea had ventured out unarmed, right after Pope Gregory’s grand feast, trusting in the sacred right of asylum. His courtiers had also willingly left their weapons behind, an ostentatious display of faith in the honor of the Sibiians.

But treachery has no place to hide. As cruel as any winter chill, it made its way into this ostensibly safe haven.

Danciul and Dimitrie Jakşişi, two Wallachian boyars with dark hearts, descended from the shadows, cold steel firmly gripped in their hands. They sprang upon Mihnea, and a deadly fated dance began. A wicked dagger struck its mark not once, but four times in the chaos and despair, its lethal embrace pinning the malevolent ruler to the very stones of the nearby Priests Tower.

The fate of Mihnea’s assassins was sealed as his life flickered and faded like a dying ember. A rage swept through the town. Eyes were burning with a never-ending thirst for justice. The unforgiving cries of vengeance echoed through the cobblestone streets. The lines between right and wrong blurred in those moments. Again.

Evangelical Church Sibiu door to ferula Southern facade
Evangelical Church Sibiu, the small entrnace door to Ferula on the Southern facade.
The funeral stone of Mihnea cel Rău is found here.

The Assassination of Mihnea cel Rău, Historical Theories and Locations

Taking into account medieval Sibiu’s architecture and how its evolution over time, as well as the sources telling the story and history of Mihnea cel Rău’s death, there are three known possible scenarios to the scene of his assassination.

  1. Mihnea exited the Evangelical Church via the older, northern portal, and was apprehended “under the arches near the pharmacy” which is now the Museum of Pharmacy.
  2. Mihnea was attacked beneath the arches of the Priests’ Tower after exiting the Chapel of St. Iacob still standing at the time (an extension of today’s Brukenthal High School).
  3. Mihnea was ambushed as he left the Ursuline Church (Dominican at that time). The “arches” alludes to the Salt Tower.

Here is the Northern Portal of the Evangelical Church Sibiu, at night:

Evanghelical Church Sibiu N Portal 1509 stone mason Nicolaus
Evanghelical Church Sibiu, Northern Portal 1509, crafted by stone mason Nicolaus

And its counterpart, the inside door of the church:

Evanghelical Church Sibiu N Portal door, inside, wood wrought iron
Evanghelical Church Sibiu N Portal door, inside view, wood and wrought iron

And a close-up of this gorgeous lock:

Evanghelical Church Sibiu N Portal door, inside, wood wrought iron detail lock
Evanghelical Church Sibiu, inside door opening into the N Portal: wood & wrought iron detail and the lock

Mihnea cel Rău gave his final breath in one of these places:

A Funeral Stone in the Evanghelical Church Today belongs to Mihnea cel Rău

The story, however, did not end there. Mihnea cel Rău was, eventually, buried in the church that had witnessed his death. Within the hallowed walls, his name was etched into a stone plate. He became known as one of the great personalities of medieval Sibiu, a Romanian whose presence was felt throughout history.

Mihnea cel Rau tombstone Evangelical Cathedral Sibiu
Mihnea cel Rau, his tombstone in the Ferula of the Evangelical Cathedral Sibiu

The inscription, in Latin and Church Slavonic, tells of the vicious murder of the Servant of God, the great Michael, Voivode and ruler of the Ungrovlach Country, son of the great Voivode Vlad, who died by God’s mercy in the year 7018, on the 12th day of March, here in Cibinum.

What is certain is that Mihnea cel Rău was initially interred in the Church of the Holy Cross (Ursuline), where he had a tombstone. The reason is simple: only the city’s elite were buried in the church in Huet Square, while Mihnea was merely a non-citizen visitor, despite his noble descent and conversion to Catholicism.

Sibiu Evangelical Catheral West Portal
Sibiu Evangelical Catheral West Portal, protected by a plexiglass case

Later, the former voivode was reinterred in St. Mary’s Church, Square, and the tombstone was replaced with the one that can still be seen in the church Ferula today.

Mihnea cel Rău’s story, like his father’s, Vlad the Impler’s, remains a haunting reminder of the darkness that can reside in the human soul, and the price that was paid to rid the world of it in the heart of Sibiu, where the past is intertwined with the present.

I liked this protected stone door tympanum of Prayer on Mount of Olives dating to the 15 century, featured above one of the small doors of the southern portal:

Evangelical Church stone door tympanum Prayer on Mount of Olives 15 cent
Evangelical Church, a stone door tympanum of Prayer on Mount of Olives, 15 cent.

For more vibrant and intricate doors from around the world, head over to Dan Antion’s blog where door lovers meet each Thursday for Thursday Doors.

Writing Update

I’ve been keeping my head low lately – you can tell that by my blog posts, few and scattered like stars in daylight… But my writing is going strong. I have 250 000 words in, finishing book two out of three, with the third historical fiction book also penned in. There is more, but that’s for later.
Thank you for your support!

For more history and stories from Sibiu and other idyllic places from Romania, enjoy my latest book, Dreamland. Click on the image to get to your preferred Amazon shop:

Read stories from Transylvania and other idyllic places from Romania

16 Replies to “The Boyar, with a Dagger, in a Sibiu Square, or Assassinating Mihnea cel Rău”

  1. Beautiful doors, Patricia, but reading the story the delightful way you’ve told it, is the highlight of this post. I could see all three of those places being the scene of a murder. The photo of Northern Portal of the Evangelical Church Sibiu, at night is downright scary. Thanks for sharing this post with Thursday Doors.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Dan.
      I like that photo too. Telling shadoes.
      I think it was 6pm, on a winter’s day. And noone else around but us. Nevertheless, Sibiu is one of the safest cities.

  2. The northern portal definitely looks ominous. But I really like the simplicity of the façade. (K)

  3. Another beautiful and full of history spot to visit in Sibiu. So curious to see the portal protected by the see-through case.

  4. Thank you, Blanca. It is a work of art.
    Sibiu sees lots of rain and snow. It’s great they take care of their history.
    This is the closest one can get to that portal.

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