Unitarian church: medieval fresco scenes covering 100 square meters, unique coffered ceiling, painted furniture, sanctuary dating from the Árpád Dynasty of medieval Hungary
Catholic church: Rococo ceiling, sculptures dated before the Reformation period, side altar from 1646, 18th-century altar!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Unitarian church of Homoródkarácsonyfalva

It was built in the 13th century and bears Romanesque stylistic traces as well, is situated in the middle of the village, on the eastern side of the main road on a hill. The church is attested as a parish church in the papal tithe records as early as 1333. Surrounded by a circumference walls the church has still preserved the semicircular sanctuary vaulted by a dome and the western entrance which is dated to the first period of the building activity. The moulding of the southern entrance and the enlargement of the windows could have taken place in the 14th century. The western entrance was moulded simultaneously with the erection of the robust tower of the church, and is decorated with a relief of Agnus Dei in the lunette, the engraving of which dates it to 1496. A stone bearing Hungarian Rune inscription fulfilling formerly decorative purposes was walled up in the lintel of the upper loophole window in the northern wall of the tower. The undeciphered inscription might have been engraved into the stone throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. Following the Reformation, the Catholic population of the village converted to Unitarian denomination in the 1560s, and consequently the church also became Unitarian. The inscribed dates of 1646 and 1649 found on the northern buttress of the sanctuary might signal the large-scale reconstruction, which encompassed the surmounting of the walls of the nave and the erection of circumference walls.
The southern entrance covered with shingle roof was moulded in 1752, and the painted wooden coffered ceiling decorated with flowers was made in the same year. The tower was stilted, and was also given its simple Late Baroque stucco decoration by the Unitarians in 1804-1806.
On the frescoes depicting the story of St. Ladislas, the Nativity, The Adoration of the Magi and St. Helen
Research work was launched starting from the northern wall of the church, in the framework of a project established for surveying the frescoes, the wooden architectural elements and furniture of Transylvania. The face of a saint king was recovered in the research. The uncovering of the frescoes took place on the first week of April 2006 with the financial support of the Foundation for Homoródkarácsonyfalva (Homoródkarácsonyfalváért Alapítvány). The earliest fresco scene was painted beside the triumphal arch, 140 cm high from the level of the floor. Now a part of this fresco is above the pulpit where the Nativity scene can be witnessed in a very random irregular framing.
The relatively newer period of the work of decoration took place at the  the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. It was also on the northern wall and just below the original level of the top of the wall where the St. Ladislas’ Battle of Kerlés (in 1068) was depicted. The Battle of Kerlés constitutes the core of the cult of King Ladislas, which has become common knowledge as the legend of the saint. The first scene of the fresco of the story of St. Ladislas illustrates the King holding “audience”, a scene which is rarely represented on similar fresco cycles of the Legend. A figure witha  moustache can be seen on this scene kneeling in front of the saint king sitting on the throne. Directly beside the kneeling figure stands a bishop, whose hands indicate benediction, in the entrance of a stylised building symbolising the city of Várad. The scene of the battle is to be divided into two parts. In the middle of the turmoil St. Ladislas pounds down one of the Kumans hugging the neck of his horse with his battleaxe. The new window carved in 1853 destroyed some details of the chasing scene. As a consequence, the figure of St. Ladislas has lost, and only the spear pierced into the escaping Cuman can be seen on the surface of the wall east from the window today. The figure of the Cuman shooting his arrow backwards and that of the abducted girl has been preserved intact. The clothing of St. Ladislas has changed in the wrestling scene. Instead of his armour, he is wearing loose-fitting, red clothing with fur ermine edge, the helmet on his head is also missing, and only his crown can be seen. The scene of the Beheading corresponds with the  scene of the story in Gelence and that of Homoródszentmárton as well, the latter is only known from the drawings of József Huszka left for us. The Resting scene is also separated from the Beheading scene by a vertical line. The intensity of the hues of the fresco has barely changed throughout the centuries; it unfolds in its original beauty to us.

In the Middle Ages, the last period of illustration might have co-occurred with the erection of the church tower in 1496, according to our assumption. On the basis of the traces we presume that at this time not only the interiors, but the entire façade of the church could have also been decorated. The decoration of the tower which is known for us is not figurative representation, but quoins and window frames emphasising the corners.
The frescoes of the interior of this period have been revealed in their entirety in the nave only. The scene of The Adoration of the Magi and the figure of Empress St. Helen have been found on this fresco.
The decoration of the sanctuary has not been revealed yet

 

 

 

 

 

Zoltán Mátyás: Passion

 

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St. Ladislas's legend

 

 

 

 

Unitarian church: medieval fresco scenes covering 100 square meters, unique coffered ceiling, painted furniture, sanctuary dating from the Árpád Dynasty of medieval Hungary
Catholic church: Rococo ceiling, sculptures dated before the Reformation period, side altar from 1646, 18th-century altar!