A supplement to our quarterly diocesan newspaper
Sadly, we are not always able to include everything we receive for publication. PD Extra provides an opportunity to:
- browse articles which got squeezed out but which we hope you agree deserve space
- include additional material for articles that did appear but in edited form
- translations into English of selected articles printed in Welsh or vice versa
Page 10: Transylvania- the fortified Saxon churches
(Translation into English of article written in Welsh)
Our visit to Romania in October 2017 was an interesting experience, especially when we left Bucharest to visit Transylvania. Although the area is most famous for the Dracula connection, the highlight for me was learning about the fortified Saxon churches. There are hundreds of them throughout the country, but a cluster of seven in this region. They were established in the twelfth century by Kings of Hungary for German colonists to settle there. In the middle of each village is a church.
The villages comprised strong communities of farmers, merchants and craftsmen. They were in constant danger of attack by the Ottomans and Tartars. Therefore, a large fortified church was built in the middle of the village, with tall walls around it and buildings inside the walls. There was a tower in the church so that people could see the enemy approaching. There was also a ‘dance square’ where people would meet . Storerooms contained enough seed and corn to ensure no-one starved, and even a school to provide education for the children. Each room in the walls had a number corresponding to a number on each house in the village so that every family knew they had a safe haven in case of attack.
Usually the church would be erected on a hill to enable the lookout to warn the villagers if they saw the enemy. The bell would be rung as a warning and the villagers ran to the church, staying until the attack was over. There are remains of holes in the walls where the enemy could be attacked. The whole system was very successful.
Many of the churches have beautiful murals on the church walls, and the majority of these fortified churches are UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Page 9: Calan Hen / Hen Galan Two churches that plan to celebrate the new year in traditional style
Since the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian
calendar in 1752, St Tysul’s Church in Llandysul has marked the
new year with a special festival, as Gareth Reid explains
St Mary’s Church, Fishguard, will be celebrating the new year
according to ancient customs and raising money for good causes.
Hedydd Hughes invites everyone along to celebrate