Spiritual Heritage (09)
This landscape makes a cache of an inestimable values as far as its spiritual heritage is concerned. The monument joint of Șumuleu Ciuc is a significant value of architectural aspect but the highest value is represented by the world famous Pentecostal Farewell of Șumuleu Ciuc and the unworldliness of this worship and pilgrimage place. The virtual tour will make it possible for you to take part of this miracle and will incline you to visit this place. Along Șumuleu Ciuc, the vicinity is also bounding in monumental churches, dating back to rather early eras, showing even aspects of the Árpád-Era. Some of them were restored recently. Along the ancient churches, a lot of new ones have been built in he past few decades, treasuring renowned architects’ works, respectively renowned, mostly local artists’ creations.

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The Holy Cross Church

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Interior of Holy Cross Church

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The Millennium Church

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Interior of Millennium Church

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Saint Augustine Church

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Csíksomlyó Marina Church

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St. Peter and Paul Church

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Orthodox Church

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The interior of the Orthodox Church

Tour stages
The Holy Cross Church

The church now declared a historic monument was built between 1751-1758 and was dedicated to the Glorification of the Holy Cross. The first church in Miercurea Ciuc was built in Baroque style. The community of Miercurea Ciuc which once belonged to the congregation of Cioboteni used to go to the chapel of Mikó Castle to pray.
Antal Szalai b. Sztolyka Zsigmond bishop declared Miercurea Ciuc as an independent parish and named its first parson, János Szász. He was the initiator of the Baroque church, its parsonage, the cantor’s house and of the school. The dimensions of the church built at the expense of the congregation were adjusted to the one-street town. The size of this church was perfect for Miercurea Ciuc, the town where the fair of Ciuc County was held.
However in 1878 after becoming the county seat the town began to prosper. The church met less and less the expectations of a continuously growing congregation, so at the beginning of the 20th century the necessity of building of a new church had already been formulated. The plans of the new church had been already prepared, and even funds had been collected when the 1st World War started. In 1916 the parsonage and the house of the bell ringer and the cantor were destroyed by fire. First these had to be rebuilt.
The construction of a new church becomes possible much later, only in the new millennium.
The parsonage near the church designed by Ferenc Berek was built in 1928 in the place of the one burnt down in the fire. The construction of the parsonage was possible due to the contributions of count bishop Károly Majláth Gusztáv, funds of the county, of the congregation and of the town.

Interior of Holy Cross Church

The visitors’ eye fall involuntarily on the baroque-style altar created by sculptor Antal Schuchbauer in honor of the Holy Cross using particular technique: Crucifix, Golgota embossing and painting.
Saint John of Nepomuk Chapel was built in 1777 next to the northern wall of the church, sanctified together with the church by Bishop Ignác Batthyány in 1784.
Two valuable Artifacts are preserved in the church, one is the standing Crucifix with the figure of blessing Christ. The endings of the cross are decorated with symbols of the evangelists. This artifact originates from the period of Mathias Corvinus, around 1470. However the bearing was created in the 17th century.
The other remarkable relic is the Book of Virgin Mary Congregation, dated before 1731 and coming from the Franciscan monastery of Şumuleu Ciuc. Its wooden cover is coated with red velvet and it is decorated with silver gravings and buckles.

The Millennium Church

The new Roman Catholic church of Miercurea Ciuc was built in the honor of the Feast of Assumption and the Hungarian Saints. József Darvas-Kozma, who has been the parson since August 2000, had the idea of a new church and went to meet Imre Makovecz, one of the world’s most famous Hungarian architect. Imre Makovecz trusted one of his followers, Ernő Bogos, a local architect to do an elaborate plan.
The foundation stone of the church was laid down on the dawn of the new millennium, the 4th of August 2001. The church had already been completed in October 2003. It is located in the close vicinity of the Holy Cross Church.
The historic Baroque church proved to be too small even at the beginning of the 19th century, so a decision had been made about the necessity of building a new church in the centre of the city. For a long time a so called barn-church seemed to be the only possibility of adjusting the size of the praying place to the needs of a continuously growing congregation. The Millennium Church was built in the place of this barn-church.
The design of the yurt-like central church with two towers dreamed up by Imre Makovecz uses typical Hungarian elements, the gates imitate the style of the Szekler ones and the ornaments used here belong to the Baroque historic monument. Four copper statues representing the four Archangels watch over the House of God. The monumental creations are the work of Ödön Nagy, a local sculptor.
This is the fifth Transylvanian church designed by Imre Makovecz.

Interior of Millennium Church

The Millennium Church of Miercurea Ciuc built in honor of the Feast of Assumption and the Hungarian Saints is a cone-shaped construction and its yurt form has derived from the biblical and Hungarian inheritance found all over Eurasia. The central rooftop is a huge glass cupola illuminating the interior of the church with natural light. The communion table lies in the central axe of the church symbolizing Christ and it is lit by the stream of light flowing in through the cupola. The form of the centrally located triptych reminds of a beehive. This ancient Christian form refers to the holy presence of the self-sacrificing Love. Behind it stands the Resurrection statue which together with the four outside angel statues rising above the cupola, are the creations of the local sculptor, Ödön Nagy. Important components of the church are the gallery and the basement joints. Blessed Virgin Mary statue made in Fatima stands in the center of the basement lobby opening towards Blessed P. Rupert Mayer chapel. The sanctuary of the chapel is decorated with three frescos created by a local painter, Árpád Márton . The fresco on the left side illustrates Saint Stephen and Giselle who, with their marriage in 996, broadly established Christianity among Hungarians and tied the nation’s destiny to Western Christianity. This relationship is also referred by the composition of Blessed Rupert Mayer (1876 – 1945). The third fresco illustrates the figure of Bishop  Áron Márton. Two torso statues from the 18th century are hanging on the walls of the nave: semi-burnt Christ torso from Nădejdea on the left, the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk originated from Holy Cross Church on the right.

Saint Augustine Church

In August 2009 a new Roman Catholic church was consecrated in the honor of St. Augustine.
The monumental building standing in district Spicului had been built for one and a half decade. The construction of the church started in 1995, when Archbishop György Jakubinyi divided the catholic community of the town in two. The reason of the long building process was the difficulty of finding the necessary funds to complete the church. The funds were finally collected from public donations and ecclesiastical, state, municipal, national and international applications.
The designer of the three-building complex is Márton Albert Homonnai, a local architect. The monumental style of the church is even greater because of the two 33 meter high metal structure towers.
Distinct ornaments of the interior are the crucified Christ and the two and a half meter tall statues embossed from copperplate of St. Augustine and St. Mónika, each weighting 80-90 kilograms, all three works of Géza Xántus, a local artist.

Csíksomlyó Marina Church

The first church of the monks, who had already settled at Şumuleu Ciuc, was built in Gothic style between 1442-1448. The monks also built a smaller monastery in the vicinity of the church. The church resisted until 1802, despite the many Tartar and Ottoman incursions of the past. There were made constant improvements between the 17th and 18th centuries, but in 1802 they realized that the church had become too small so the decision of building a new church was made.
The construction of the present church started in 1804 according to Konstantin Schmit’s designs. The church was consecrated in 1876 by the Transylvanian bishop Mihály Fogarassy. It was consecrated in the honor of the Visitation of the Lady, the day which is still the dedication of the church anniversary.
The most valuable object of the church is the statue of the Virgin, a masterpiece of 16th century ecclesiastic art, sculpted at the beginning of the century (1510-1515) in Renaissance style from linden. The artist remained unknown. This is the biggest known ecclesiastical statue in the world, it is 2.27 meters tall. It represents Virgin May dressed in sunbeams, with the Moon under her feet and a chaplet over her head made of twelve stars. It shows the Virgin as a queen: she has a crown, a scepter in her right hand and his Holy Son, the Savior of the world on her left arm. In 1798 Transylvanian bishop Ignác Batthánnyi named her “Miraculously helping Holy Virgin”.
The statue was devastated many times by fire or other calamities, and today is the center of every pilgrimage regarding Virgin Mary. The church is the most important scene of the annual Pentecost Pilgrimage of Şumuleu Ciuc.
In 1948 Pope Pius XII gave the church the title of basilica minor.

St. Peter and Paul Church

At the beginning of the 14th century the parish of Şumuleu Ciuc was the most important church of this area. It is located at Cioboteni, a village adjacent to Şumuleu Ciuc. The Gothic church was demolished in 1800 because of its bad state and the present church was rebuilt from the stones of the old one in new-Baroque style.
Between 2002 and 2005 the archeologists of the Szekler Museum of Ciuc had been doing archeological excavations on the north-west side of the church and unraveled the nave of a medieval church and its sanctuary wall.
Archeological excavations prove that first there was probably a stone church built in the 12th century in the place of the present church. During excavation they determined that the 15th century Gothic sanctuary was attached to a former wall of a nave. The church was rebuilt many times before the 16th century; the tower was completed in the 17th century. The Sándor crypt was built at the beginning of the 18th century and it was attached to the northwest side of the church.
The archeologists discovered almost 80 tombs, which show different burial customs.
The parish is one of the most important scenes of the Pentecost Pilgrimage of Şumuleu Ciuc.
Hundreds of pilgrims, first of all Csángós from Moldva, spend the night from Saturday to Sunday in the church. On Whit Saturday the priest celebrates a Csángó mess in the church, where they also keep their pilgrimage cross and their flag.

Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church realized in honor of Saint Michael Bishop wearing Neo-Byzantine characteristics was built between 1929 and 1936 in the former administrative center of Miercurea Ciuc, in the Castle Square. From 1994 has been the seat of the Orthodox Diocese, then the seat of the Episcopate of Harghita and Covasna counties. Behind the building the former Harghita Hotel is visible.
The necessity of building of an Orthodox church in Miercurea Ciuc had already been formulated earlier by Georghe Cerbu orthodox priest, however a parish had to be settled first in the town. The funds for the construction was assured by the Romanian government, various institutions and by the local Orthodox comunity.
The foundation stone was laid on 29th September 1929 and the finished church was consecrated by Orthodow Archpishop of Transylvania Nicolae Bălan on 8th November 1936.
The two-towered building having a cupola has been restored several times through the years.

The interior of the Orthodox Church

The interior walls of the church are decorated by Byzantine oil paintings realized by Georghe Belizarie from Pitești in 1936. He is the author of the paitings from the Iconostasis, too.
The great furniture and the valuable bishop’s chair are decorated with marvelous carvings.