On an extremely sunny and hot 23 June 2021, representatives of the Evangelical Church, the Romanian cultural authorities and experts from the building industry met on site at the Church of St James of Șoarș near Făgăraș. The work on the façade of the fortified church, which has been planned for some time, can now begin and is to be completed before the end of the year.
The official opening of the construction site at the church took place in time for St. James’ Day (celebrated in the Protestant and Catholic churches on 25 July). Among those present were administrator Bruno Ercau (representing the Făgăraț Parish of the Evangelical Church), architect Horațiu Vasilescu (Brașov County Cultural Office), architect Ioan Bucur, site manager Mihail Gotsman, contractor Dan Homorozean, and Ecaterina Gál and Sebastian Bethge from the Fortified Churches Foundation.
Extensive work on the façade of the nave is scheduled for the coming weeks. This primarily involves repairs, maintenance and individual restorations, for which, for example, the concrete elements that have been installed over the last few decades with good intentions, but which in the long term are very damaging to the fabric of the building, will be removed. The work is expected to be completed in autumn 2021. The Fortified Churches Foundation will provide technical support for the construction work throughout the entire period. In addition, the Făgăraș Parish will also finance the building supervision in order to check the work regularly.
The costs for the interventions amount to 45,000 euros. The budget is made up entirely of donations collected by Ursula Hummes (chairwoman of the Hometown Community of Șoarș) from emigrants from Șoarș and other people committed to cultural history, to which she has also contributed a great deal privately.
Passionate commitment of the Hometown Community
Sebastian Bethge, Representative for Monument Preservation of the Fortified Churches Foundation, is enthusiastic about the cooperation with the Șoarș Hometown Community: “In recent years, Mrs. Hummes has not only been a passionate, driving force in all activities, but has also shown a great deal of patience! That should not be taken for granted, especially since, for example, obtaining the necessary permits for such building projects is very time-consuming.” For some time now, the Hometown Community has been very committed to saving St James’ Church: On the initiative of chairwoman Ursula Hummes, the Fortified Churches Foundation drew up an initial brief report in 2015 and was able to carry out extensive repair work on the church roof in 2017.
The Protestant church of Șoarș by Făgăraș, a Gothic hall church dating from the mid-15th century, was converted into a fortified church by 1690. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the ring wall and the six defence towers were taken down again. However, remains, such as the fortified building in the southern area, which was used as a storehouse, have been preserved to this day and make the Șoarș church ensemble, which is well worth seeing, a special architectural feature in the Făgăraș region.