Photos courtesy of Sergey Minasyan
A late 18th century Armenian Catholic Church is one of the most famous buildings in the Romanian city of Dumbrăveni.
“Armenians established here at the end of the 17th century and made a significant contribution to the economic and cultural development of the city,” Sergey Minasyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to Romania, told Public Radio of Armenia.
The majority of the Armenians left the settlement in the middle of the 19th century and it was soon populated by Saxons.
Today, 550 Hungarians live in the town alongside more than 7,000 Romanians.
However, a few Armenian families, mostly Catholic, still live here, Ambassador Minasyan said.
Together with Gherla (once called Armenopolis) Dumbrăveni is one of the “most Armenian” cities in Romania.
The city is home to a unique Armenian Catholic Church built in Baroque style between 1766 and 1783 in honor of Saint Elizabeth, after which the town was named Elisabethopolis. There are two other Armenian Catholic Churches in the city.
According to Sergey Minasyan, St. Elizabeth Church in the city’s main square badly needs a renovation.
A valuable collection of about 2,200 volumes on religion, language and natural sciences from the 16th-19th centuries, written in Italian, Armenian, Hungarian, and French Altin have been discovered in the church halls.
During a recent visit to Dumbrăveni, Armenia’s Ambassador discussed steps aimed at preservation of the church and the cultural heritage it shelters with Mayor Emil Darlosan.
Amb. Minasyan also attended a classical music concert in the church and visited the library, which hosts rare ancient Armenian religious and other books dating back to 17th-18th centuries.