Evangelical Church from Tălmaciu

The school and church are considered great cultural goods in every corner of the world. The Saxons gave them an even greater importance, both being the core of their national life. The church is the most powerful of all Saxon organizations, including the people in its entirety, and the school serves its keen sense of development and preserves its culture.
The first documentation of the Church in Tălmaciu dates from 1429, when the “parochialis e celesiae Talmucz” is mentioned, a Catholic church that replaced a previously existing small basilica. The church will benefit from the attention of Sibiu’s magistrates, who were obliged to take care of it. Therefore it is not surprising that a series of expenses made for the church is recorded in the county books: between 1503 and 1507 a certain amount of materials were bought, probably for the new roof of the church, which was erected in 1507. There may have been a reduction of the building by demolishing the southern part of the church. City officials came to this conclusion in the nineteenth century, when the church was undergoing some reconstruction work in order to expand it. Between 1829 and 1831, after some digging, the foundation walls were found, which were used to rebuild the once demolished segment. Thus the building obtained the look it has today. The altar dates from the seventeenth century.
Great and imposing, with a high tower that can be seen from every corner of Tălmaciu, and a clock that lets one know the passing time, the Saxon church built with Gothic elements but especially Romanesque ones stood witness to the events of this village.
After the reform, Saxons in Tălmaciu embraced the Evangelical-Lutheran religion, as most Transylvanian Saxons did. When the Habsburg Empire sought to convert them back to Catholicism, they gathered round their priests, resisting these pressures.
The parsonage was built at the same time as the church. Dating from the fifteenth century, it was consumed by the flames of the fire that spread in Tălmaciu in 1718.
The priest had a huge authority in Saxon communities. He was administrator of the church, along with the parish committee and a number of village representatives. These spiritual leaders were elected, the Saxon lacking an appointment. It was their right, earned since their arrival to Transylvania.
The importance of the Saxon church also stems from the fact that it has supported and cultivated the school. Documents from the sixteenth century speak of teachers in Tălmaciu ever since 1523-1526: they were the “Scolari Clemens”, a bell ringer who also served as a teacher.

The church and its foundation

A parish church in Tălmaciu was documented for the first time in 1429. The location of this is unknown, it was probably situated where there were built other churches later on and where the evangelical church is today. In the Middle Ages a basilica type church was built. From this old church the foundation walls of different heights raised, on which the church is partially standing nowadays. Also, the triumphal arch of the existing building body was partly done in the old building. The triumphal arch is round. There is a  a fairly large portion of the wall to the ceiling.

From the history of the old church it is also stated:

In 1503 there is some construction work at the church in Tălmaciu which is supported by Sibiu. Woodwork and bricks are paid out of the treasury of the town hall. Also in 1507, the church roof bricks are paid from the treasury of the Sibiu province. Woodwork is paid from the same treasury.

In 1520 the Sibiu province supports the parish with the completion of the fortification works at the church. It was probably then that the defensive wall around the church cemetery and the church were built. In 1713 the magistrate of Sibiu allowed the inhabitants of Tălmaciu to raise money to repair their church in the city.

Between 1829-1831 the church was enlarged, consolidated  and completely renovated using medieval building materials. Before these expansion works, there was a smaller church, with the roof outline still visible today in the eastern part of the bell. The arcades (rows of arches) separate the central nave from the two side aisles. The place for the choir has a polygonal closure. A copy of the Gothic vault with old ribs is built in the choir, of shaped stone blocks and round closed windows are fitted. Inside the choir there are two round windows (“oculi”). The central nave has a flat ceiling made of mortar stucco. The aisles have barrel vaults lined up in sections. The high aisles have barrel vault on their segments. The aisles are highten with empora. The Western Emporia is wooden. The large arch-shaped windows lead to the side emporas. In the side aisles modern closed windows were mounted horizontally, which gives the church a simple feature. On both sides of the first pillar between the nave and the side aisles there a stone plate with a commemorative writing in Latin capitals composed of gold. On the first page it is written: “Aedes Deo Triunei 0.M.sacra numificentria incl. VII. Ind. Patronatus fauturum Symbolis Talmatschensium assiduitate 1831, amplificata, renovata examata” (Translation: “This holy church built in honor of the Holy Trinity and Almighty God was enlarged, enhanced and renovated through the generosity of the seven honorable judges, the esteemed leaders of business organizations, with the financial contributions and zeal of the residents of Tălmaciu. “) In the south:” Under auspiciis Amadei Vailer sen.Cib.et sedis Insp. Joannis Jos.Roth Parochi, Jac.Kesner vil. etaedit, Martin Lang jur. et aedit Martin Engber, jur. Mart. Schneider vil. edj. Georg Fakesch, jur. Mich. Klein jur.Joannis Schneider orat.extructa. ” (Translation: “The construction rose under the supervision of Amadeus Vailer,  Senator of Sibiu and school inspector, Johann Josef Roth, the parish priest, Jakob Kesner, Judge of the village and father of the church, Martin Lang, a member of the panel and father of the church; Martin Engber, a jury member; Martin Schneider, a deputy judge; Georg Fakesch, a jury member; Michael Klein, a jury member and Johann Schneidern, a reviewer.) On the southern part of the church a small sacristy was attached, serving ecclesiastical affairs of all kinds. One could get to it from inside the church through a narrow door.

In 1942 the whole church and the tower underwent capital repair works.

In 1965 the sacristy is demolished, a significantly higher one being built at the same place. They wanted to venerably replace the lack of room for Bible study and choir rehearsal, held at school. It also has an entrance door from the outside, from the church cemetery.

Inside the church there are:

  1. The altar dating from the 17th century; it contains the built mass of the altar and an upper wooden construction. The main picture, representing the Crucified is surrounded on both sides by three pillars. On the predella, on the lower part of the altar there is a painting that represents the Last Supper, not painted by the same artist who had painted the main draw. The Coronation is composed of God’s eye and a cross. Between the predella and the main draw there is the following inscription: “D.O.M.S. Suscipe, sancte Deus quod nunc hic maneris instar offert Zultner mente piae Domine.” This inscription mentions as the donor a particular Zultner. A stone step is leading to the altar, whose narrow part towards the nave was carved in 1859.
  2. The pew

The counts of the Tălmaciu castle once held in this church their own pews in the choir, because in 1682 the castle Count Georg Glockner donated a white carpet for “The gentlemen’s pew”, according to the registration of the Tălmaciu church book page 2. Nowadays  there is just a new simple pew in the choir.

  1. The pulpit

The body of the pulpit is built, being built simultaneously with the church building. The pulpit railing, and crown type canopy are painted with colorful floral motifs. Above the crown of the pulpit there is the eye of the Lord, above it there is the baroque figure of an angel flying, which apparently didn’t belong to the pulpit.

  1. The organ

The housing of the organ comes from the 19th century, having no ornamentation (ornament) apart. The pneumatic organ was rebuilt in 1926 by Wegenstein and consists of a hand, a foot and six registers (rattles).

  1. The baptistery

Its main part consists of a cup-shaped soft stone. The simple wooden attach is associated to the desk.

Inside the church there are also six large velvet flags that have been made in memory of the dead of the parish and donated to the church. They hang at the round side windows being rolled and carried by the hired depending on the season of the church.

  1. The canopy is a ceiling above the pulpit, but also a small protective roof supported by pillars. `
  2. Pneumatic: which is powered by compressed air.
  3. Register of the organ: a series of whistles, with the same type of construction and sound.

In memory of the dead there are several flags at the altar and the pulpit.

Two of them have the following dedication:

“Friederike Frankowsky, born on 21st September 1926 died in Hannover on 2nd October 1950” and

“Michael Armbruster 77, born on 9th March 1904, died on 2nd Jan 1974.”

On another flag it is written next to a picture “Martin Glockner, born 21 feb. 18631 died 13 Jan 1936.” From the stucco ceiling there are three chandeliers hanging. In the parish chancellery there is a church book in which donations made in previous years have been written.

Here we read:

1689 – Castle Count Georg Klockner donated a beautiful white silk priestly vestment

1706 –  “a beautiful new cassock” was donated

1812-  “a cassock” was donated

1815 – “candles for the morning service” were donated

1816 –  “a new surplice” was donated

The Bell Tower in Tălmaciu

In the Middle Ages a bell tower was already built in the continuation of the west facade of the church. To this building, a sharp arch-shaped entrance made of hewn stone was built, leading to the first floor and the two upper floors. On the second floor one can see embrasures. The entire ground floor is surmounted by barrel vaults. In the commemorative book of donations we find the following entry for 1818: five golden bucks are donated “for the building of the wanted tower.” But the building of the tower was realized only in 1825. The entire bell tower was built of brick, the roof is pyramidal. The roof is very high. The bell tower is reached by climbing some narrow stairs in a dark corridor. Down the tower there is a dark room with its own entrance, which was used as a cellar, as the elders tell. Bad or lazy children were threatened with closure in this dark tower. In the tower there are two bells hanging. The smallest of them has the following inscription: “Sub prov. Mode  H. De Hutern Past. G. Zek vil. L.A. et I.T. fusa in usum ecl.Talmatsensis Anno 1783”.

Around the inscription there is a delicate leaf-shaped carved ornament and and in the middle of it the letters I.P. The large bell comes from 1925.

During the World War of 1914-1918 a bell was brought out, being melted. In the bell tower there is still space for a bell, but it remained unoccupied.

On three sides of the tower exterior, below the window with noise protection there is the face of a still functional clock, having a Vienna mechanism. The exact time is given hourly by strong blows of the great bell. The daily routine of the inhabitants of the village is focused largely after the functioning of this clock tower.

There are still present the remains of an ancient clock tower.

 

The church cemetery

In Tălmaciu the place around the church is still called today ‘the church cemetery’ and rightly so, because here really there existed many years ago a cemetery, demonstrated by the discovery of fragments of human bone found during the construction of the new vicarage. The churchyard is surrounded in the south, east and partly in the north by a rampart, with the average height of 1-1.5 meters. Part of this wall and the administrator’s kitchen were destroyed during the construction of the above-mentioned vicarage. At the current rampart one can still observe in various places remnants of the old wall. Of course, the relatively low wall could not defend the many struggles of yesteryear and in the event of a siege, it protected the place.

The Commemorative column

In the north of the church cemetery, about 3 meters away from the church, there is a memorial column. It is adorned with a damaged emblem. Recognizable are rather a crown, a damaged head, a neck and a torso underneath. Below a panel, representing a bird that keeps a grain of wheat in its beak, and next we find a bayonet (melee weapon) and a flag. It remains unknown of whom this commemorative column recalls.

The Tomb

Also in the north of the church cemeter, near commemorative column, there is a narrow temple-like tomb. On its pedestal there is the plaster figure of an angel. On it, it is said: “Optimo parenti grati liberi M.P. St. Samuel de Salmen, natus anno 1767 die 21 Oct. denatus anno 1822 die 27 maji.”

The back of the vault has attached a plaque that recalls the grandchildren of the deceased.

Samuel de Salmen was the Count of the Tălmaciu castle.

For the beautification of the silent cemetery of the church many trees were planted around the house of the Lord. Near the main entrance of the church, on its northern side, there is the memorial built in 1929 for those killed, missing and repatriated from Tălmaciu during the World War 1914-1918.

Localizare: Str. Cetății
Stil arhitectonic: Gotic
Informare suplimentară:  http://www.culte.gov.ro/biserica-evanghelica-lutheranahttp://www.bisericalutherana.ro/

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