ALMA

Alma village is mentioned starting 1317 in the form possessio Almas.

A Gothic hall church is in the village, enlisted among the historic monuments of Sibiu county. The religious building used by the Calvin parishioners is a historic monument constructed by the Catholic Saxons in the second half of 14th century or in the first half of the 15th century, for their religious needs. The ceiling has the fragmented inscription: Templum hoc sacrum exfundatum est a fundamento an: 1502…, which does not mean the year of construction as previously thought, but most likely the year of one of its numerous renovations.

almaThe construction of this religious monument made use of river stone and burnt bricks, and its roof was originally made of wood shingles and, later, roof tiles. The church, built in Gothic style, is simple, with a small nave ended in a semi-circular altar. The entire construction was fortified with nine two-step buttresses. Illumination of the interior is ensured by four windows for the aisle, two windows on each lateral side and two windows for the altar. The windows are specific for the Gothic style, narrow and high; however, they do not end in a pointed arch but in a semi-rounded arch, which proves the subsequent intervention over the church. The window space is divided into six plates.

The rectangular tower of the church was added in 1907, and the wood bell tower in the vicinity was renounced. It was placed over the entrance to the church and has four rounded windows, one on each side. The porch at the entrance to the church is recent. The interior of the church was originally covered in frescos of which hardly discernable traces still exist. On the southern wall of the choir there were visible the traces of a biblical scene of St. George Killing the Dragon and some hardly identifiable saints. The artistic value of the paintings was referred to by art historian Vasile Drăguț. On the northern wall of the choir there were fragments of an inscription, probably from the 15th century. Other fragmented inscriptions are likely to indicate moments of the church renovation. Besides the aforementioned inscription, of year 1502, there is another inscription on the nave ceiling, mentioning year 1796. It is difficult to prove that the two dates represent the times of renovations but there are documents mentioning a certain renovation made with the support of Count Sigismund Bánffy of Losoncz, the owner of a significant portion of the agricultural land in Alma village. More recent repairs were made in 1957 and 1979, with the support of the believers in the Reformed parish.

Biserica fortificata de la AlmaIt is not known for certain the date when the Saxons’ church was taken over by the Calvin community. It is quite difficult to say if, before leaving Alma, Saxons converted or not to Lutheranism. In Series Pastorum 1990/2 Die Pfarrer der evangelischen Gemeinden A.B. in der Rumänischen Volksrepublik von der Reformation bis zur Gegenwart there is no reference to an Evangelic priest belonging to the Alma community. The nearby communities had adopted Lutheranism at the middle and in the second half of the 16th century. It is certain, however, that simultaneously with the introduction of the religious reform ideas, the Saxon Lutheran community or the Hungarian Calvin community covered in mortar the frescos that had decorated the interior of the church, in their wish of sombreness and austerity.

The aisle made of sculptured stone dates from the 14th century. Its crown was made in 1796 and re-painted in 1932. In 1718, the idea of vaulting the nave was replaced by a coffered ceiling. From the same year, 1718, dates the choir devoted to the men who attended religious sermons, made of wood and painted with floral motifs. The oldest cult object was a goblet manufactured by the Sibian masters in the 15th century. Other objects for the divine service are more recent.

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