Orthodox cathedral in Sighisoara

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

Sighișoara is the medieval fortress with the longest uninterrupted dwelling in Europe, so the typical images from this Romanian city would include Gothic churches, narrow cobble streets and bastions. But this city of Transylvania has it’s modern neighborhoods, where the bulk of the population lives, outside the walls of the hill fortress. Just a few hundreds of meters from the citadel, across the river Târnava Mare, is a large cathedral that attracts the eyes of all tourists.

Apart from the tall square bell tower in front, this is a traditional Byzantine church, with a large semi-spherical dome. When it was built, in the 1930s, Transylvania was just two decades after its reunification with Romania. And the population of Sighișoara was still composed in majority of Germans and Romanians, almost in equal percentage. So the monarchy encouraged building monumental religious buildings here, like in other large cities of the country, like in Timișoara or the capital, Bucharest, to promote the religion of the dominant population or to express the new status of the country as regional power.

The architect of the church was Dumitru Petrescu Gopeș, who created a very balanced black dome sitting on columns over the main nave and a cross floor plan. Inside there are traditional Byzantine frescoes by Atanase Demian, a Romanian painter born in Budapest, who also decorated churches in Timișoara and Cluj. The iconostasis is the work of craftsmen from Rupea.

The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, whose symbolic image is painted on the frontispiece. Jesus Christ sits next to God The Father, and in between, The Holy Ghost is symbolically represented by a white dove. In Orthodox iconography, The Father is only represented inside the Holy Trinity and just as an older version of Christ. This is based on several biblical verses, that harmonize the idea that God was not seen yet by any mortal, but can be known through Christ, His embodiment („whoever has seen Me (the Son), has seen The Father” (John 14:8) ).

Bellow this medallion there is a quotation from the Genesis: „This is the house of the Lord and the gate to Heavens”.

The exterior of the church is greatly enhanced by the river Târnava Mare, with its green banks and willow trees reflecting in the water, creating some poetic images.

Mai multe despre: Religious architecture, Romania
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