it is one of the oldest religious buildings in Timișoara
The Orthodox Church from Elisabetin

The Orthodox Church from Elisabetin, built in the second half of the 18th century near the Cross Square, is one of the oldest ‘Romanian’ religious buildings in Timisoara. The term ‘Romanian’ is used in the sense that it was not shared with the Serbian community. The Elizabethan Orthodox Christians had their own parish even since Ottoman rule. This church, built of wood, was mentioned in 1727, shortly after the liberation of Banat by the Habsburgs (1718). The religious service was officiated in Slavonic language, but more information about this first Orthodox church attested in Elisabetin is unknown.

În anul 1784 a fost ridicată, din cărămidă, o nouă biserică, inițial fără turlă, turnul fiind adăugat mai târziu, în anul 1836. Deoarece la sfârșitul secolului al XIX-lea clădirea ajunsese într-o stare precară, a fost organizată o colectă de către reprezentanții orășenești din Elisabetin, conduși de Constantin Mihailovici, președintele consiliului parohial, și Josef Novotny. La aceasta au contribuit cetățeni care aparțineau tuturor naționalităților și confesiunilor din Timișoara. Suma rezultată în urma colectei a fost atât de mare, încât biserica a putut fi renovată substanțial, chiar reconstruită parțial. Ceremonia de sfințire, oficiată de către episcopul ortodox de Arad, Ioan Mețianu, urmată de o mare rugă la care a luat parte întregul oraș, a avut loc la data de 27 august 1894. După renovarea din 1894, biserica a fost închinată Adormirii Maicii Domnului. O a doua renovare importantă a bisericii a avut loc în anii 1926-1927, când au fost amplasate 4 clopote noi în turnul bisericii, iar interiorul lăcașului de cult a trecut prin modificări importante: pictura în frescă, în stil neobizantin, a fost executată de pictorul arădean Iulian Toader.

Această biserică, sub forma ei actuală, corespunde stilului baroc cu elemente clasiciste (frontonul intrării, pilaștrii de pe nava alungită). Iconostasul și o parte din mobilierul interior au fost realizate de Traian Novac și Păun Felix Constantinescu.

Among the priests who pastored the Orthodox from Elizabeth, we mention: Constantin Șuboni (until 1811), Petru Teodorovici (until 1825), Moise Trăilă (1831-1836), Constantin Eutim (1839-1842), Nicolae Adamovici (1849-1879), Petru Anca (1879-1900) etc.

 

Bibliography::

  1. Josef Geml, Vechea Timișoară în ultima jumătate de secol 1870-1920, Cosmopolitan Art Publishing House, Timișoara, 2016, p. 110.
  2. Deselega Gyula, Ghidul Timișoarei, Fundația Diaspora, Timișoara, 2011, p. 177.
  3. Nicolae Ilieșiu, Timișoara. Monografie istorică, vol. I, Editura G. Matheiu, Timișoara, 1943, pp. 151-152.
Video
The Orthodox Church from Elisabetin

Pia Brînzeu, Family Journal, Manuscript

Stop 5: The Orthodox Church in the Elisabetin Neighbourhood

 

December 24, 1957. Although this year there are more candles and fireworks, more candy and meringue rings on it, the Christmas tree is not joyful at all. It looks tired, it’s restless, and the air around it doesn’t sing like it used to in previous years. Its branches are tangled, as if hiding an untruth, a fear, a conspiracy. I don’t like it all. I should have asked my father to find another tree, to scold Mr. Simion for bringing us such a despondent tree this year and to ask him to be more careful in the future when he chooses a tree for us. Not even the colourful candles make it look more alive. In other years, the tree would pulsate with beauty; it would look impressive and majestic with all its decorations. I never understood where its power came from, but its branches seemed to blossom when decorated with tinsel. It would stay fresh and full of life until New Year’s Eve, and then it would dry slowly. But even when it was dry, its vertical line connected us with heaven and with all the angels descended on Christmas Eve to tenderly caress us on the forehead with their wings.

But why am I worrying now, I ask myself puzzled, after the tree has already been decorated and lit up? Mother doesn’t notice any of my thoughts. She turns the handle of the gramophone and plays a disc, inviting us to sing together Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht. Meanwhile, I’m watching the presents with excitement. They are stacked nicely on the floor. I can’t wait to open them. I know Grandmother wraps them up in the paper saved from other presents, received throughout the years on several special occasions. The ribbons are also recycled, sometimes for years on end. For instance, the red silk ribbon from Austria has been kept for five years in the dining room drawer. Last year, Grandmother used it to tie the pencil box for my brother. Now, it’s tied around The Adventures of Dunno, by Nikolai Nosov.

Suddenly, we hear the doorbell ring. Father goes to open and a group of noisy students rush into the hallway. When he understands that they came carolling, Father freezes up. He’s happy to hear his Romanian songs, but why have they come? Officially, you are not allowed to decorate your Christmas tree, nor to go to church or sing carols. So why didn’t they let him know in advance? He could have stopped them somehow. Father’s eyes look around, perplexed, his cheeks are pale and his tone becomes more and more solemn as he speaks to the young men. He doesn’t know what to do, they are his students and he cannot chase them away. He welcomes them inside after their carolling, but it is only too late that he manages to close the door to where the Christmas tree is. His fingers are shaking on the doorknob when everybody sees we are celebrating Christmas.

In fact, the students had been chosen by three of his doctor colleagues, unhappy that father had more patients than them. His studies in France and his love for medicine actually did him more harm than good. His colleagues needed a good reason to get rid of him and wanted to fire him from the Institute of Medicine, where he was teaching, and from the “Clincile Noi” hospital, where he was performing surgeries. It wasn’t hard for them to coax a few students to play their game, and then to declare him an enemy of the people. If Father had known how to read the sadness of the Christmas tree, maybe he wouldn’t have opened his door to carol-singers. But it’s actually better that it happened that way, because otherwise he wouldn’t have developed the C.F.R. Hospital, where he got hired after a few months of unemployment, or he wouldn’t have fought for founding the County Hospital, which is now bearing his name. Habent sua fata hospitia. Hospitals have their own destiny, and sometimes this seems related to something as simple as a Christmas tree and some carols sung more or less lovingly by students.

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