THE ASSUMPTION OF MOTHER MARY ORTHODOX CHURCH CERNATU - SĂCELE

“The Assumption of Mother Mary” Church is located in the center of Săcele Town and it is rectangular in shape, similar to a Roman basilica, being built between 1848 and 1868, under the pastorate of priests Oprea Verzea (1812-1870) and of his son Ioan Verzea (1827-1880).

It is made of brick, with one meter-thick walls, 4m-high and 2m-wide windows. The Holy Altar shape is semi-cylindrical.

This is the new Cernatu parish church. The first one, patronized by “Saint Hierarch Nicholas”, a historical monument, built in 1782, located only 300m away, on Bisericii Române street, is also surrounded by the parish cemetery.

The building of the new church took 20 years ( 1846-1866), because of the events that went on during that period, because of the 1848 revolution, when the parishioners fled the locality, heading towards Moldavia or Walachia. When they returned, they only found their burnt down houses and after the rebuilt their homes they continued the works on the church, the cross being placed on the church dome in 1866.

This construction data was discovered in 1937, when capital repairs on the church roof were carried out The interior of the church rests on 4 large pillars, which support the whole weight of the Gothic arcade vault. The church is divided into the narthex, nave and altar, with a porch at the entrance. The steeple is 50m high and it is covered in zinc-coated metal sheet.

In the narthex, the choir loft is built on two cylindrical pillars. The altar is separated from the nave by a rood screen decorated with oil-painted icons by Braşov painter Mişu Popp. A new capital repair on the church between 1974 and 1975. The repair consisted of the full remake of the socket, the replacement of the girders and rotten truss frame, the sorting and replacement of the broken roof tiles. The steeple cross was straightened and the other crosses on the church were replaced with new ones.

Painting

The church was initially painted with stars only, but in 1976 it was partially painted using the tempera technique, by the priest and painter Nicolae Plămădeală. In 2007, following the repairs performed under the pastorate of priest Nicolae Stoicescu, the church was repainted by Victor Ionescu and re-sanctified by the Most Reverend Father Laurenţiu Streza, PhD, Metropolitan of Transylvania. From amongst the valuable items in the patrimony of the church, we mention a filigree portable church, donated by Tomoşoiu family in 1782, a silver chalice dating from the same year, a star donated in 1849 by Radu Sulică and his wife Maria, the finished silver votive lights, donated by Tomoşoiu in 1782 and Gh. Argintaru in 1822, the bells dating since 1817 and 1875, the candelabra dating since 1875 and 1781, the coated St. Nicholas’ icon dating since 1822, the icon with the Holy Relics of St. Martyr Charalambos, donated by Vasile and Stanca Păsioiu in 1882.

From the old book collection, we mention: the Menaion dating since 1804, the Menaion dating since 1854-1855, a Holy Bible coated in velvet, with enameled medallions of the Evangelists, datings since 1903, a Horologion printed by Veniamin Costache, donated to the church in 1902, a Homilary dating since 1817, a Kiriacodromion dating since 1855, printed under the care of Metropolitan Andrei Şaguna.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find diptychs and old votive inscriptions. All the data inserted here has been taken over from the documents of the church or from the items preserved in it: candelabra, votive lights, bells, mass books, etc. The known priests of Cernatu parish are: Priest Constantin Popovici, priest Nicolae Popovici (1793-1797), priest Radu Popovici (1793-1812), priest Iacob Popovici (1779-1819), priest Oprea Verzea (1812-1866), priest Ioan Verzea (1827-1880), priest Ioan Grecu (1849-1873), priest Radu Verzea (1850-1868), priest Gheorghe Urdea(1876-1911), priest Octavian Simtion (1910-1929), priest Silvestru Garcea (1931-1972), priest Nicolae Stoicescu (1972-2009), deceased in 2014. Apart from them, there is a priest whose name is not known, installed in 1748 by the Magistrate of Braşov, and priest Petru Leuca and Hieromonk Gavriil Constantinescu also served as provisional churchwardens between 1929 and 1931. As of December 2009, Priest Laurenţiu Milotoiu was appointed parish priest of Cernatu Parish Office.

Priest Octavian Simtion was the delegate of Alba Iulia and National Counsel Precinct. It is believed that Iacob Popovici, priest in Cernatu, alongside Şchei and Săcele dwellers, Radu Tempea and chancellor Ion Constantin from Zărneşti, played an important role in the use and spreading of the Latin writing in Ţara Bârsei.