My church is a spiritual sanctuary, and we call our worship space just that - the sanctuary. But what if your church was your physical sanctuary? The areas we saw in Romania have seen centuries of strife and fighting, and so they have a heritage of fortified churches. Several of the fortified churches we saw are still in use today, so their worshippers still experience passing through the outer walls to come to their church.
The crumbling walls of Arkos Unitarian Church
We also saw, but didn't get any pictures of, the 13th century walled Unitarian church of Székelyderzs . Talk about a sense of history - this church has a tradition of families storing their surplus food in storage boxes inside the outer wall, and curing their meats in the corner towers. This way, if they had to retreat to the church when attackers came through the village, they would have food in there. The families of the village are still continuing this tradition, using the same boxes and hooks that their families have used for hundreds of years. They also have family pews in the church, also going back hundreds of years. A very different sense of it being your family church than we have around here.