“Pious Paraskevi” Orthodox Church from Tălmăcel

History tells us that in the time of barbarian invasions, the Romanians have found a hiding place in these parts and thus laid the foundation of the village called “Tălmăcel”. The village lies 23 km away from Sibiu, at the foothills of Cibin Mountains. It stretches across three valleys: Tălmăcuț, Rîu, and Rîușor – all of them leading towards the center of the village, where the church is located.

Tălmăcel Parish is a pure Romanian and pure Orthodox one. The church is a historical monument and a monument of art (no. 2831 on the list of historical monuments). It was built in the eighteenth century, following the pattern of orthodox churches around Sibiu County. The church has no inscription carved in stone or written above the entrance. In 1750, a new church was built in order to replace the wooden one. This church was built from donations, the craftsmen remaining anonymous. They gathered material with great sacrifice, despite there being only eight chariots in the village.

In 1777, the foundation was built; the following year the construction reached the roof, and in the 3rd year, they put up the roof. Though they had no more money to finish up the tower, a legend says that God had sent a flood that had unearthed a barrel full of gold coins, buried in the bed of a creek. To this day, that same creek is called “The Tower Creek”. The barrel was donated to the priests in order to finish the tower. The nave is covered with two domes made of brick, supported by arches. The narthex is vaulted in a semi cylindrical shape and has a small dome near the tower. Five years later, they raised money and, in 1786, they finished painting “the fresco of particular value”, as Mr. I.D. Stefanescu, professor of Byzantine painting, declares.

Painters Oprea from Poplaca and Pantelimon were employed to do the painting. The latter also worked on renovating the church from Curtea de Arges. Regarding the painting, there is another legend: it is said that while painting up on the scaffolds, Oprea lit his pipe. The other painter told him that smoking in the church was a sin, to which the former responded: “Why should it be a sin, since I am the one creating the saint, and not the other way around?”. At that exact same moment, he fell off the scaffold and died – that is why we only see Pantelimon’s signature, dating from 1786.

The village had no prominent figures; we can only mention Șmighelschi, the notary, father of Transylvania’s great painter, Octavian Șmighelschi.

Professor Ciura says about him that “he was still a child when the dream of becoming a painter crossed his mind for the first time. He used to examine lovingly the church’s paintings, and climbed up the ladder of perfection, step by step, thus becoming our greatest church painter.”

Nowadays, the surface of the paintings is obscured by the smoke and dust adhering to them, making it pretty hard to discern the figures of the saints. The porch frescoes, though, appear clearly. The painting has not been restored. Regarding the exterior paintings, only two have been preserved: The Holy Trinity and Archangel Michael.

In order to pass on this monument of art and beauty, Church “Pious Paraskevi”, in good condition to our descendants, believers have decided, on the priest’s advice, to strengthen the building – thus, in 1972, the tower and the roof were completely repaired, as well as the exterior painting.

In Tălmăcel parish served the following priests: Constantin Popovici (1793-1810), Mihai Popovici (1793-1820), Simion Secărea (1793-1798) – all three have served under Emperor Joseph II and Bishop Gherasim Adamovici. From 1800 until 1830, Ion Secărea, also known as Popovici, served here. In 1830, the priest and his wife went to Romania and became monk and nun. In the village chronicle, it is said that when they left, the whole village accompanied them to Boiţa. Popovici was followed by  priests Simion Secărea (1813-1828), Dumitru Secărea (1828- 1838), Ioan Oancea (1839-1848), Dumitru Secărea (1852-1908), Nicolae Secărea (1854-1894), Ioan Roman (1903-1946), Ioan Pisso (1910-1916), Ioan Roman (1939-1969) and, finally, from 1969 up until today, priest Horia Roman .

Address: No. 275 Bisericii Street, Tălmăcel Village, City of Tălmaciu, Sibiu County
Contact: Tel.: 0269.556.834, Mobile: 0724.259.299
Priest: Father GABRIEL DAVID
Email: gabriel7915@gmail.com
Phone: 0761.784.084, 0725.180.830

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