Sabine is a mother and works in a hospital, she speaks Hungarian, German, English, and a little bit of Romanian. A couple of years ago she visited Copșa Mare and she fell in love. Her eyes sparkle even now, 4 years later, when she talks about that day.
She fell in love with an XV century Transylvanian fortified church. Granted, the church is lovely, but you cannot take her out for a cup of coffee or talk romance. But take a look at the photos, isn’t she lovely?
She went home with the hope she would just forget about it. But she couldn’t. She rambled weeks on end about the poor old church and how she’d love to see it renovated, she talked the ears off her husband until he finally said: if you want it that much, why don’t you just get to it? Start work on the church, I’ll support you.
So she started the work, she created an NGO and started learning more about the church history from the locals in Copșa Mare. She contacted the Evangelical Bishop and was granted permission to start works on the church from the Consitoriul in Mediaş. The church belongs to them as the Saxon have given it up and moved to Germany.
Fortunately, they found great partners in HOG (Heimatortgemeinde), Saxons, that moved to Germany in late 1980-1990. She also built strong relations and cooperation with Ambulanta pentru Monumente, the Arcus association in Târgu Mureș and Fundația Biserici Fortificate.
How Copșa Mare church changed
In just under 2 years Sabine managed to rebuild the roof, repair the XIX clock and contract a watchmaker to do maintenance work on it 4 times/year. She managed to hire a local to act as a guide for tourists (he is the one that actually introduced me to the church) and contracted local craftsmen to redo the stone stairs of the main entrance. This summer Sabine and a bunch of volunteers cleaned up the church and its garden, planted flowers, and worked with a team of specialists to uncover centuries-old murals above the front door.
Their work is tiresome and slow. Donations are the only way their NGO can pay the craftsmen that are in charge of the restoration works of the village’s legacy.
I met Sabine in August. We were visiting Transylvanian villages and fortified churches and ended up in Copșa Mare on our way to Mălâncrav by chance. I loved her energy and her determination, I was inspired by her can-do attitude and appreciated her taking the time to talk to us and tell us all about her journey. She exudes happiness so I thought: this is one woman who’s found a raison d’etre and makes no excuses in following it!
How to get to Copșa Mare:
Take the E60 from Bucharest and drive 5 hours and a half through beautiful Transylvania. You can stop for lunch in Brașov or Sighișoara (I recommend the latter) and take the road via Biertan, road quality is better. From there on you have a 10-minute drive towards Biertan.
How to help Sabine restore the church
I joined the Facebook group she created for friends of the church and made a small donation. I plan to visit them again as I know that Sabine has big plans for the church and the entire community of Copșa Mare. I urge you to visit their (German) website and take a look at the amazing photos they took. This is 100% volunteer work! If you like what you see, please donate and support their work. Details below or on their website:
- Raiffeisenbank im Oberland eG,
- IBAN: DE05701695980007103387
- BIC: GENODEF1MIB