The Pentecost pilgrimage

The Pentecost Pilgrimage

Sumuleu's being a place of pilgrimage is due to the respect the Szeklers felt for the Holy Virgin, flourishing already in the 15th century. The people of the neighbourhood gathered together in Sumuleu, on Mary-days.

Pope Eugene, in his circular of 1444 urges the people to help the Franciscans in building their church. According to the customs of the age, he allowed the benefactors to keep annual feasts in exchange for their help.

The pilgrimage to Sumuleu in honour of the Holy Virgin has lasted ever since. In 1567 there was a new turn in the pilgrimage. In the age of the Reformation, JŠnos Zsigmond, prince of Transylvania wanted to convert the pure Catholic population of Ciuc, Gheorgheni and Casinu to Unitarianism by force with his troops. The people of these regions, led by IstvŠn, priest of Joseni took arms in defence of their faith.

The gathering was in Sumuleu, on Whit Saturday. The people asked for the help of the Holy Virgin then went to the Harghita to fight with the soldiers of the prince. In the meanwhile, the elderly, the women and the children remained in Sumuleu and prayed for victory. The battle ended with glory. The Szeklers put birch branches next to their flags and returned to Sumuleu. The people came out of the church to meet them and they all went back together to pray and thank God and the Virgin for the victory. To commemorate this historical event they took a vow to go on a pilgrimage to Sumuleu on Whit Saturday every year. This ancient tradition is preserved and still continued by Mary's people. According to the tradition, they return with birch branches in their hands.

Sumuleu is still the famous place of pilgrimage of the Catholic Szeklers. Many people participate in the pilgrimage today. Since 1990, more hundred thousand people have come here and taken part in the procession and mass held in honour of the Holy Virgin.

Among the valuable objects of the church and the pilgrimage we can mention the Labarum on the left side of the main altar, carried in front of the procession during the pilgrimage. When they reach the Salvator chapel on the Sumuleu Mic, they sing a religious song then continue the procession. Pilgrimage on a short clip (Windows Media Player v7.0 or newer)