THE ASSUMPTION OF MOTHER MARY ORTHODOX CHURCH - TURCHEŞ

The traces of the church life in this parish have become lost in the mists of time, but the customs and some mentions on the church rotive stand as testimony. A most precious piece of information is the one according to which, in 1650, the believers in Turcheş asked for Braşov Magistrate’s permission to repair the wooden church. In 1781, when the orthodox in Romania are given the permission to build stone churches, the Romanians in Turcheş requested the permission to erect a masonry church because “in 1779, they had a wooden church, which had been built more than 200 years before and had become a ruin”. Their request was approved and in 1781 - a year written above the nave entrance door - they started building the current stone church.

“The Assumption of Mother Mary” Church was built between 1781 and 1783, being made of stone and cross-shaped, with a length of 26.31m and a width of 14.55m. In 1821, the works for the erection of the large 47m-high belfry were started, underneath which there is the churchyard entrance and which monumentally closes the sturdy brick wall fencing the cemetery.

Despite the hard times, the Church was adorned with beautiful fresco paintings, both inside and outside, similar to the one encountered in Moldavian monasteries, done by “a skillful artist’s hand, whose name still is unknown”. In 1877, the painting was covered with a lime layer, which was renewed in time, ignoring the value of the paintings thus hidden. The painting was only discovered in 1939, the work being carried out under the coordination of painter Ioan Mihail, an expert of the Commission for Historical Monuments, on the expense of brothers Bucur and Nicolae Bunescu.

The church was adorned with valuable religious items ever since the beginning: large bell (1837, 1,200kg), vexilla, Holy Corporal received from Saint Andrei Şaguna, Holy Epitaph painted in 1815, silver tabernacle (1717), large cross (1881), old table cross, seven silver candlesticks, chalices (1796, 1838, 1840), silver votive lights (1770/71), three old brass candelabra (1787), Bible silver cover (1822), silver unction and anointing oil bowls (1822), old silver incensory and two old disks, also made of silver. All these are supplemented by a baroque tetrapod, with a canopy supported by four columns and by the iconostasis, the true value hosted by this church (1812-1815). The church also accommodates an important collection of old and extremely valuable icons.

The church also has a collection of old books for which there is no updated inventory, since many of them have been transferred along the years.

The Holy Altar hosts the long list of the church’s founders starting 1781, written in the golden book of the church and in the wooden book-opening diptych. The circumstances under which the church was built are described in the foundation rotive, preserved up to our days. The cross located on the site of the former wooden church altar bears a Cyrillic inscription.

The names of certain priests in Săcele are recorded for the first time in the old books and manuscripts preserved at Saint Nicholas Church in Şchei. According to these documents, the first recorded priests in Turcheş were Father Petcu and Father Dumitru, before 1671, when another priest, Father Staicu, was brought from Turcheş to officiate at the Church in Şchei. Then follows a list of good officiant priests: priest Siicu (1672-1682); priest Vasile Grid (din 1686); priest Petru (1699 who participated in the investigations in Sânpetru); priest Radu Tempea (1697-1698); priest Matei Tempea (1728-1739); priest Stan Brenci (starting 1947); archpriest Constantin Stan (1755-1793), priest Constantin Brenci Popovici; priest Vasile Grecu (1796-1810); priest Oprea Odor (starting 1810) - he opened the dinasty of Odoreşti Priests in Tucheş, who officiated until 1862; priests Ioan Pascu (1862-1910) and Nicolae Soiu (1862-1916); priest Ioan I. Pascu (1907-1916 and 1919-1929) priest Daniel Purcăroiu (1930-1976); priest Nicolae Plămădeală (1978-1981); priest Eugen Emil Beleuţă (1981-2014); priest Obancea Dan Nicolae starting July 2014 and up to the present date.

The cantors who sang in the choir of this church belong to the series of teachers and cantors who contributed in the spreading of the culture amongst people. They were: Toma Brenci (first recorded in 1851), Radu Odor, Iosif Oncioiu, Petru Debu, Ioan Odor, Ioan I. Pascu, Nicolae Odor, Vasile Bărbat, Matei Stroescu, starting 1938 Aurel Raţiu, and currently Marius Vrânceanu.

The first archpriest recorded is Ioan Sasul, in 1782, followed by archpriests Ioan Sulică, Gheorhe Căciulă and Ioan Banciu, Radu Marin Odor, Anastase Bârsan, Iosif Oncioiu, Ioan Perţache, Ioan Căciulă, Ioan I. Pascu, Radu Moroianu, and at the end of the 19th century, we mention the figure of archpriest Constantin Perţache. All these archpriests also were benefactors of the church.

The parish cemetery is located in the yard surrounding the church. It is almost circular in shape and has a surface area of 3000m2, being fenced with a beautiful brick wall, resting on the carved stone foundation. As of 1994, the church received an additional cemetery location, with a surface area of 5000m2.

A school operated adjacent “The Assumption” Church between 1821 and 1873, in the two rooms located on the sides of the belfry. Starting 1874, it operated as a confessional school in the new school building, until 1920, when it became a public school. In 1922, the reading hall was established adjacent to the church, attended by the most illustrious and talented youngsters in Săcele. In 1898, Nicolae Jugănaru Foundation was established, attached to the church.