OK, so it took a while to finish up the Transylvania series. I end with some of the keepsakes Linda brought back.
Red embroidered cloth is very common in the area. These are only a couple examples.
A village hat is the keepsake, not the guy wearing it! Do I look happy like Pharrel Williams?
Delicate bracelets for the girls (shh, they haven’t been home to see them yet).
This is an impressed copy of the Edict of Torda, issued in 1568. It was an important statement of religious freedom when the mainstream church was clamping down on the reformation as nations were trying to consolidate power by merging the dominant religion with the state and creating a state religion resulting in providing a reason to torture or kill those who were opposed to the state-imposed religion. To refresh your memories, Martin Luther’s 95 theses were posted in 1517. The thoughts live on in the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment a couple hundred years later: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
This document is a copy of the traditional Transylvanian blessing, found in churches and homes across Transylvania.
Finally a couple of tapestries, one them a gift from the Unitarian Bishop.
It is most appropriate to lead off the wonderful people Linda met with Lajos, the minister at our partner church.
In his trip to Iowa we were able to host him for a meal at our farm.
Linda tagged along on a regional minister’s meeting.
Some spouses waited patiently for the meeting to end.
Here Linda is with Nora, the English teacher at the seminary.
and drink on a girl’s night out with Nora.
Linda also was honored to meet a Bishop of the Hungarian Unitarian Church. He’s my kind of guy as he insisted Linda bring a gift of hospitality home with her for me – some pálinka from his own stock – a distilled spirit of fruit juices – the saying in Hungary is “what can be used to prepare jam can also be used to produce pálinka.”
This is Izalda, she and Linda spent some time working together on her English before a big exam. She passed! Izalda was very kind taking Linda to the Market, walking around town, and generally begin very cheerful to be around.
This woman, Maria, is one of the first women to graduate from the Unitarian seminary in Transylvania.
Finally, Linda whooping it up with the students after hours.
I’ll end the time in Transylvania with this photograph of the good-by supper she had in the seminary.
One of the primary reasons for Linda’s trip was to teach English to ministers, seminary students, and a high school class.
This is a group of ministers she was able to meet with. As many churches in Transylvania have partner churches in the U.S., an effort is made for the ministers to improve their English skills to be able to communicate with their partner church in the U.S.
Here’s Linda in the classroom with some high schoolers.
In the central courtyard there was a human chess game going on with students acting as the chess pieces.
She spent the most time with the students in seminary.
For one assignment, they were split up into groups.
For the final assignment, Linda had them pretend they were coming to the U.S. and present a U.S.-style service and present it in English.
One of Linda’s favorite shots from the trip – with all the students.
Linda had a chance to visit churches in a few villages.
The church in Tordatfalva.
Here’s an inside view of a “typical” church. The minister preaches from the raised pulpit, the minister’s wife sits in the box below the pulpit, then men on one side of the church and the women on the other side.
The raised pulpit for the minister.
The banner the Ames partner church gave to the Tordatfalva church.
After services in the school, parishioners gather for treats and wine hour (we have coffee hour).
Lajos in another nearby village church.
The interior of yet another church.
Linda with Tunde, the minister’s wife and the church president and his wife.
Chimney cakes are a traditional treat in this part of the world.
Coffee hour is chimney cakes and wine!
Nearly every Tranyslvanian Unitarian church has this imagry of a Dove of Peace standing on top of the world, encircled by the Serpent of Wisdom that is swallowing its own tail, symbolizing the everlasting cycle of life, and topped with the Crown of King John Sigismund of Transylvania, who issued issued the Edict of Torda, the first broad decree of religious freedom in the modern history of Europe.
Another of the economic enhancements of the villages is tourism.
This is a small cabin being remodeled for a children’s camp. You can see some of the timber and frame pieces getting replaced. The minister insisted they keep the original structure rather than build new with “modern” 2×4 framing.
This man is the church president in front of another structure with a big bad wolf in the background.
Grape arbors are very common and part of nearly every fence and porch.
Linda swears by the naturally carbonated spring water.
Finally, her home for her days in the villages.