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THE CHURCH OF THE URSULINE SISTERS

General Gheorghe Magheru, nr. 38, Sibiu

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The name of the church has its origin in the order of the Ursuline nuns. At the beginning of the 18th century these began administering the site. The church had been built three centuries earlier by the Dominican monks. They come into our town in the middle of the 13th century.

The Dominican order was the main mean by which the Catholic proselytism advanced in the East European space, in the heathen territories. The Dominican monks built their monastery very close to the ramparts of the town. We could localize their monastery on the site of the present day 1 Decembrie 1918 Square, in the region of the Intercity Bus Station Transmixt.

The Ottoman attacks at the beginning of the 15th century made the Dominicans request the authorization to move their monastery inside the ramparts, which was granted. Thus they built their monastery on the present day site. They also organized a lazaret in the region of today’s railway station.

The Lutheran Reformation caused a real shock in the religious life of the town. The Reformation took hold of all the churches and properties of the Catholic Church in the town, chasing away all monk orders. The Dominican monks were banished in 1543. The church underwent important changes – deletion of all existing wall paintings. The church was abandoned and in time it was demolished.

In the year 1733 the Church of the Ursuline Sisters is given to the Catholics when some nuns of the order of Saint Ursula of Bratislava arrive into the town. They would establish a new monastery in the town supported by the Empress Maria Theresia. The building of the monastery is the building linked to the church.

The nuns changed the facade and the structure of the church. Of the initial Gothic structure only the external abutments and the choir (altar) remained. The interior, the central nave and the lateral chapel already belong to the Baroque style.

There are many legends about this church. One talks about the tunnels going right under the railway station and even farther. Between myth and reality fact is those catacombs are the place where the Ursuline nuns are burried.

Since 1992 the Church of the Ursuline Sisters became the confessional center of the Greek Catholic Church which was reestablished after the fall of communism. Even today the Greek Catholics of Sibiu celebrate their holidays in this church which has become one of the important centers of religious life in our town.

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