Unitarian Fortified Church – Dârjiu
The monument ensemble outside Odorheiu Secuiesc is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It was built in the 15th century, while the fortress walls date back to the 17th century. The most valuable parts of the monument are the 15th century mural paintings and, among them, the most important is surely the series of paintings depicting the legend of St Ladislau. It was made in 1419, after being commissioned by Ungi István’s son and it is one of the best preserved paintings of St Ladislau.
The fortress church has three components: the tower, the fortress walls and the church. The bulwarks that were built on the walls were taken off in 1788, when there was no more need for protection. Inside the walls barns were built where the villagers could deposit their goods and where the grain supplies could be stored. The tower was used to store the smoked meat and the bacon.
Among the attractions of the church is a runic inscription on a brick that was discovered in 1929 and that one can still see nowadays. Specialists attribute the creation of this brick to the period between 1274 and 1431. A version of translation of the text inscribed is “Miklós Derzsi apa-pap” (Miklós Derzsi father-priest). The sanctuary vault is decorated with sculpted stones. From the pulpit to the right, on two cornerstones above the priest’s chair there are two mocking figures sculpted. One of the cornerstones also bears the coat of arms of the Székely Land, the other – a plow inside a coat of arms, while a third one - the coat of arms of the Petky family, that played an important part in the construction of the church.
The mural paintings the church is famous for are at on the northern and southern walls. The first painting, from the entrance to the right, on the southern wall, illustrates the conversion of St Paul the Apostle. The second is a full image of St. Michael, the Archangel, holding a scale with the devil on the upper tray and a woman praying on the lower one. The third mural painting on the southern wall represents three characters wearing miters.
Under the choir built in 1720 one can see a fragment from a legend of a woman martyr. On the northern wall there are painted images from the legend of St. Ladislau. The king and his armies go to war against the Cumans in Oradea and are blessed by the bishop. Then there is the battle, the tracking, the fight, the beheading and, finally, the rest. The last painting on the northern wall depicts St. Anthony and opposed to him there are two women in red clothes and with auras.