The Altar Mountain

It is also called the Altar Mountain of the upper part of Covasna County. According to tradition, it was on the roof, 738 metres above sea level, that the people of Covasna County were judged in their legal cases, hence the name Perkő („Stone of Trials”). On the site of the castle of Sânzieni, destroyed during the Tatar invasion, there is the chapel of St. Stephen, built on 13th-century foundations and erected in 1736 by the Kálnoky family. It is the most famous pilgrimage place in Covasna County,giving space to the St Stephen's Day celebration on 20 August, which is the biggest popular religious celebration of Catholicism in Covasna County, Casin, and Ciucul de Jos - after the Whitsunday Pilgrimage of Șumuleu Ciuc. In the old days, cross-bearers from the upper part of Covasna County on their way home from Șumuleu Ciuc would spend the night at a place called Szentjános in the Casin Valley, wash at the well in the morning, dress in their festive clothes and continue with the Pentecost Monday pilgrimage in Perkő. But before that, a "palagation" took place at the well: the pilgrims confessed publicly, confessed their faults and sins against the community, and the leader of the pilgrimage measured out the punishment for each of them with his stick, a disciplinary instrument called "palága". In return, the sins and mistakes, which had been publicly confessed here, were forgotten forever, and later noone could even hint at them in the village community at home.
What a ritualistic order, what a technique for forgiving and forgetting once and for all the sins committed against the community...

Samu Csinta

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