Hans Klemm, Ambassador of the United States of America in Bucharest, paid a brief visit to Agârbiciu and Daia in mid-July. Together with the one in Movile, the fortified churches in the two Transylvanian villages are benefiting from funds from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). These budget funds will primarily be used to carry out work on the roofs.
Back in May of this year, the Fortified Churches Foundation received a cheque for USD 59,300 from the AFCP via the regional consistory of the Evangelical Church A. C. in Romania (ECR). At that time, the ceremonial handover was celebrated with a spring festival and brunch in Movile.
Hans Klemm was not yet familiar with Agârbicu and Daia, so the US diplomat took the opportunity of a stay in Transylvania to visit the two project churches in the company of the new American cultural attaché Scott A. Reese.
The delegation was first received in Daia (Sighișoara church district) by Uwe Hann and Daniela Proteasa (Șapte Brazi Association), as well as by Ruth István, Andreea Mănăstirean (Fortified Churches Foundation) and Stefan Bichler (Superior Consistory) and given a tour of the church. After the tour of the church, the US diplomat expressed his confidence in the tourism potential of Daia in an interview with Romanian television (TVR).
They then travelled on to Agârbiciu (church district of Mediaș), where Rev. Hildegard Servatius-Depner and parish curator Ingeborg Petru formed the reception committee and visited the church and churchyard together with the delegation. Cultural attaché Reese was very impressed by the Metz organ from 1798 and even tried his hand at playing the organ. So the sunny 21st July not only brought unforgettable impressions for the Bucharest US delegation, but also brought them a few steps closer to saving Transylvania’s landscape of fortified churches.
Text and Photos: Stefan Bichler