THE CROSS OF THE BANAT HEROES
Coming from Timisoara or Resita, when you reach Caransebeș on the bridge over the river Timis, take the sight-line drawn by the top of the cross from the entrance with the top of the golden cross from the cathedral and you will see the White Cross on the Little Mountain.
The lights of the cross-monument from the Little Mountain can be seen on serene nights from the towns of Caransebeș, Lugoj or even from the capital of Banat, Timişoara.
The White Cross on the Little Mountain is a special monument erected in the memory of Banat’s border guards and it is a symbol of Banat’s willingness to be free. It was not raised in a city square, but in the middle of nature, on a mountain ridge, where every man, hiker or pilgrim, can best think about life and their reasons, where the ancestors of the Gugulans retreated from the way of disaster, and, over time, they have formed their spirit of faith in one God in order to survive.
“Whoever wishes to pray in the area of the saints of the Hermitage” of St. Elijah “on Little Mountain, or to enjoy the solitary beauty of the heights, watched by the white and slender statue of the new cross, can do it by climbing with the chairlift from Borlova, in all the seasons over the years.” [Irimia N., 2012].
The old cross-monument was erected in 1936. Initially they intended to erect a 25 meter high reinforced concrete cross in the memory of the frontier-guard heroes from Banat who had fallen in the war for the Great Union of 1918. The lack of access road to Little Mountain and other technical difficulties led to the cessation of this bold solution. They choose the variant of a wooden cross made of 8 fir tree stems selected from the protected forest nearby. The stems were abated and cleaned on the spot. The transportation to the site was made in the snow in December 1935 with the help of several pairs of horses.
In the spring of 1936, a grid of 250 x 100 cm iron profiled grate was installed on the Cleantul Găinii Peak (1625 m) and a scaffold was lifted around it, and the eight fir stems, stored at the foot of the peak slope, were drawn one by one, with winches and pulleys inside of it.
On the grid, the 8 stems were placed two by two in a set of four pairs, bound together by metal fittings and bolts.
Once the assembly was completed and before the removal of the scaffold, they preceded with the anchoring of the entire assembly in a perfect vertical balance, with the help of 4 strong steel cables.
On July 12, 1936, with the occasion of the inauguration of the Little Mountain resort, the monument cross and the other buildings of the resort were sanctified by a group of priests headed by IPS Vasile Lazarescu, the bishop of Caransebeș.
The old wooden cross had resisted all the vicissitudes of the weather for 67 years until October 4, 2003, when, wounded by the weather and with rotten base, it was lowered from the pedestal, but not before another steel cross was erected in its place.
The new cross-monument on Little Mountain, made of steel, is 27 m high and is located also on the Cleantul Găinii Peak at an altitude of 1625 m. It was realized by the Energomontaj Timişoara Company, after a design of IPROTIM Timişoara, in which the architectural part was made by the architect Mircea Belaiu, and the resistance structure was designed by Dr. Eng. Victor Marinov to resist to all environmental conditions. The transport of the steel cross to the mountain was made with a platform up to Craiului Valley, and from here on by a tankette on the mountain road, in the autumn of 2003. Its installation on the foundation made by Hydroconstrucţia Caransebeș was finalized on October 4, 2003, and its sanctification took place on 14 October 2003 by a group of priests under the lead of IPS Nicholas Corneanu, the Metropolitan Bishop of Banat. The works of the cross plateau and of the access road to the monument followed, being finalized in 2006.
The cross-monument has become a symbol of spirituality and tourism in Banat, a sight admired and visited by all tourists coming to Little Mountain.
Every season, tourists staying in the chalets and hotels of the Little Mountain come out at nightfall to admire the high, impressive silhouette of the cross, often caught in the light of the night with the moon.
Every year, on 14 September, on the celebration of the “Holy Cross Day” a pilgrimage is organised to the White Cross on Little Mountain, where hundreds of believers gather at the base of the cross, listening reverently to the religious service, after which they spend hours of powerful revelation in the face of a dream landscapes. In the evening, divine perfection is attained. Starry sky and moonrise are perceived as a show of huge enchantment fot he soul and affirmation of the power of God. Looking at the vault of heaven, the lights of the elestial bodies have intense, accentuated sparks, providing an easier perception of the immensity and distances from the universe.
The cross lighted from its foundation to its top is projected on this astral background, almost unreal, magnificent, ennobling with pride and satisfaction all those who come to Little Mountain with the vibrations of a real ode of joy.