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Panoramas / Churches and belfries

Armenian Catholic Church

Gheorgheni

Armenians were living in Gheorgheni at the beginning of the 17th century and they immigrated in larger numbers in the second half of the 17th century. At the beginning they practiced their religion in the wooden chapel in the Foreigners’ Cemetery, which was rented from 1680, but this building soon proved itself to be too small for the growing community. After they bought the chapel and the land it was on in 1717, they expanded the building, but soon enough the construction of a new church became a necessity. At the insistence of father Theodorovich Simon, who became a priest 1726, planning for the construction of a stone church begins. Building started in 1730 and, three years later, the walls were ready. The costs of the building were covered from donations of several Armenian associations (The Holy Trinity Young Men Association, The Saint Mary Tanners’ Association, and Saint Stephen Association) as well as the contributions from Armenian families. According to the inscription in Armenian that is found on it, the tower was built in 1734, on the personal expense of Lukács János.

The church is surrounded by an irregularly shaped wall with ramparts and two small buildings are attached to it, on the east and west sides. In the window-shaped holes in the stone wall, images of the passion of Christ, which were made around the year 1750, were placed. Nowadays, they can be found in the building of the Armenian parish.

The building was rehabilitated in 1889, when the Neo-Baroque frescos on the ceiling and the windows were painted. The one nave church bulk, with a polygonal shaped shrine, was animated by the small attached buildings, rendering it a truly Baroque style: a three building chapel and a portico, a sacristy building and a lobby connected to the ground floor of the tower.

The most important elements in the interior design of the church are the four valuable altars uniformly designed and the pulpit, all built between 1752 and 1754. The main altarpiece which bears numerous Baroque style ornaments represents, as the name of the church reveals, the coronation and rise of Blessed Virgin Mary. The main scene represented on the south shrine is the stoning of Saint Stephen.

The most valuable painting in the church is on the north altar and it was painted in 1752 in the monastery of the Mechitarist congregation in Venice. The painting represents Saint Gregory the Illuminator who converted the Armenians to Christianity and the main scene is that of the baptism of king Tiridates III and of the royal house. Images from Armenian legends appear in the background.

The central image is surrounded by fourteen medallions with paintings of the tortures Saint Gregory had to suffer before baptizing king Tiridates. The fourth altar is located in the side chapel. It was initially dedicated to Saint Cajetan of Thiene, but after the miracles of Lourdes, it became Virgin Mary’s shrine. The pulpit is richly decorated. On the south side there is Saint Michael defeating Satan. On the sides of the pulpit body one can see the statues of the Four Evangelists and bellow the statue of an angel with its wings spread.

The ceiling frescos illustrate the scenes of the coronation of Mary and the birth of Jesus, while in the crevices of the cylindrical vault there are images of the Holly Fathers of the Church – Saint Ambrose, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome.




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