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The Arian church in Crăciunel

Address:
Crăciunel
GPS:
46° 11' 0.204" N 25° 25' 46.1352" E
Description

Standing to the east of the highway, on a hill called "Mount Zion", the Arian church was built probably in the 2nd half of the 13th  century and is the only sacred building in the whole historic region Udvarhely with a preserved Romanesque chancel in good condition. In 1496 the church was adorned with a Romanesque tower, and its walls were built higher. The west gate with the bas-relief depicting the Lamb of God, bearing the date 1496, was built simultaneously.

During the following centuries - in the 17th and 18th century - there have been several renovations. The inscription on the triumphal arch testifies to the maintenance works, which took place in 1790. The choir was built in 1789 and extended in 1855.

The greatest pride of the church is a historic painted ceiling dating from 1752, consisting of 96 panels. Their ornaments are very diverse, figurative paintings can be seen next to plant motifs. On one of the panels you will find the most famous symbol of Protestant iconography - a pelican. Other design elements include an organ from 1853, the finial of the pulpit and the Lord's Table.

In 2005, during the renovation of the interior of the church, traces of polychromes were found on surface of the entire chancel. A year later, paintings from different eras were unveiled on the north wall of the nave.

The earliest of these, now over the pulpit, was created in the first half of the 14th century and shows the birth of Jesus, St. Helena and homage of the Magi. Other paintings come from the late 14th and 15th centuries, yet their author is unknown. They represent the battle of St. Ladislas against the pagan tribe of Pechenegs in 1068, during which the Hungarian king, known for his knightly virtues, was to have rescued a girl from the hands of a pagan warrior. The entire work with a total length of 11.6 m and a width of 2 m belongs to a group of paintings known as the legend of St. Ladislas. Most of these works have been preserved on the northern and eastern border of the historical Hungary. The versions of the legend presented there are very archaic and contain many shamanic elements from the pre-Christian period (magical horses fighting each other, a warrior protected by magic - the king defeats him only with the help of a girl, the love scene between Ladislas and the girl, etc.). This is precisely the version of the legend, immortalized in one of his Latin poems of the Old Polish poet Paweł from Krosno, who for many years remained in the service of the Hungarian family Thurzon.

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