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About us

   The History of the Sic Calvinist Church

The Calvinist church in Sic (a settlement first recorded in written documents in the year 1291) is among the finest and best preserved religious buildings from the Árpád era (1000-1301) in Central Transylvania. The building with a polygonal choir and three naves has preserved its original design, nevertheless it has been subject to many reconstructions, expansions and transformations.

The earliest part of the church is the architecturally unusually complex Eastern area, built in gothic style. The carved stone elements, such as finely carved capitals and keystones of the wide choir, covered with a transversally ribbed vault, the spatial structure, the circular windows, the cornice resting on a series of consoles indicate that the Eastern part of the church was elaborated by members of the Cârța stonemasonry workshop. This supposition is consolidated by the two aisles, on the left and right sides of the choir, spaces originally employed as sacristy and vestibule. The Cistercian monastery in Cârța was probably built around 1230. Up to the years 1270-80, the stonemasons, but also their followers, employed the specific layout-features and the morphology of the carved pieces of this very construction in the erection of many Transylvanian buildings, thus spreading the Gothic style across the region. A fine example of these carved pieces is the canopied trefoil sedilia, recently discovered in the southern wall of the main choir. The choir is linked to the aisles by pointed arch frames.

Interestingly enough, the architecture of the naves of the church is simpler than that of the choir, their semi-circular arches are reminiscent of the Romanesque. Still, the naves and the choir are closely linked together, even if the first three belong to a further phase of construction with identical widths and matching proportions of the naves, their simplicity indicate that these were not erected by the Cârța team, but by a less gifted crew. From among the original 13th century carved pieces of the naves, only the pointed arch window-frames of the main nave survived. The later-built portions of the church and various reconstructions have obviously been related to the naves designed with lesser craftsmanship. Strangely, the series of nave arcades were asymmetrical: two larger arcades on the Western side of the southern wall were faced by a normal-size arcade and an opening on the northern wall, leading into a corner-space of unknown destination.
As research shows, the Western end of the naves needed thorough reparation already by the end of the 14th century: the Northern arcade by the said opening was obliterated and the present Western entrance was added.

The second half of the 15th century brought along other interesting transformations: an enormous belfry was built at the Western end of the main nave, three wide windows in pointed arch frames were opened on the southern façade, and a sacristy was added to the northern side-choir, with late Gothic arches. These works could have been financed using the generous 1470 donation by king Matthias Corvinus.

We know little of the transformations the church was subjected to during the 16th and 17th centuries, when the building was converted according to the needs of the protestant liturgy, the mural paintings, for instance, were covered by new render. On one of the piers, an 1619 reparation inscription has been preserved. This is when a gallery was probably built in the Northern nave, where the lower part of a window was walled in. The side-walls of the naves were elevated, their roof structures being united to that of the main nave roof, all this resulting in a huge gable roof. The 1703 inscription on one of the Northern pillar is probably linked to these works. Following the 1717 Tartar siege, in 1727 the church was repaired. Important constructions issued in the years 1767-1768, when the tower was elevated, an entire storey being built over it. In 1770, carpenter Lőrinc UMLING manufactured the old boarded ceiling of the nave, of which, before the restoration, only two inscription boards were known. A portico was added to the southern façade of the church in 1781. The stone pulpit was carved in 1793, by Ádám HORVÁTH, from Chidea. During the first half of the 19th century, the choir windows were widened and given a semi-circular shape, an intervention that greatly affected the medieval frames and mural paintings. A 1946 storm had severely damaged the huge roof structure of the church, which made the following main rehabilitation imperious.

 

.: © 2015 Szeki Reformatus Templom ::: Biserica Reformata din Sic ::: Sic Calvinist Church :.