Maria CRÎNGACI ŢIPLIC, Ioan Marian ŢIPLIC
Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane Sibiu, Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, Facultatea de Ştiinţe Socio-Umane Institute for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities from Sibiu, “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences
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10 / 2016
The Southern Transylvania in the 13th century, a Border between Catholic Space and Non-Catholic Space
The territorial expansion of the orders and of the colonization with western guests / of the Saxon and Szekler colonizers and the architectural configurations they adopted and disseminated is very clearly delimited in the 13th century religious landscape of southern Transylvania and in the topography of the Catholic Romanesque churches in the area. These Catholic churches built in a Romanesque style, the cemeteries that surround them, the discovery of some liturgical vessels that are specific to a Catholic population that used such goods are all part of a clear borderline between the Catholic and the non-Catholic areas. They are placed on the southern line of the royal land / fundus regius / of the Seven Seats, delimited to a significant extent by the natural frontier of the Olt River (see the map 1 and 2). The contrast is even more evident if we consider the fact that at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries that fundus regius / Saxon territory became a stable and efficient military and religious frontier, having its center at Sibiu (see the map 1), as well as Bârsa Land from the second half of the 13th century, with its center at Brașov (see the map 2). From the point of view of the ecclesiastic landscape, the densest network of Catholic parish churches dating around 1200 can be found in southern Transylvania, surrounding Sibiu, a colonized area with western guests, where the largest Romanesque basilicas are to be found (Sibiu, Cisnădie, Cristian). Starting from the fourth decade of the 13th century, the monastic activities, as well as the activities of the building sites in the urban centers contributed to the spread and generalization of the stone architecture in the rural areas. Furthermore, this density grow of the network is to be remarked especially around future cities (Brașov, Mediaș, Sebeș). If during the second half of the 12th century and the first half of the 13th century the network of Catholic parish churches is not yet well developed, starting from the second half of the 13th century, especially following the Mongol invasion, this network is enriched and a generalization of the stone architecture in the rural areas is first remarked in the villages nearby the county centers (see the map 2). The dense network of Catholic Romanesque churches in southern Transylvania in the 13th century, as well as the establishment of the two Cistercian monasteries, the two Premonstratensian ones and the distribution of the Dominican monasteries, followed by the Franciscan ones starting from the fifth decade of the 13th century prove once more that southern Transylvania was religiously a well-defined area, part of the eastern limes of Christianitas, one of the most powerful border segments of western Christianity.
Keywords: religious landscape, churchyard cemeteries, medieval churches, Transylvania, the 12th and 13th centuries