Wooden churches

01. Bodružal

The wooden Greek Catholic church of St. Nicholas, 1658, NKP

    The wooden Greek Catholic church in Bodružaľ is one of the oldest wooden churches in Slovakia. It was built in 1658. The church in Bodružaľ is a log structure of three spaces, consisting of a smaller squared sanctuary, bigger squared nave and an narthex, located under the main tower.

From outside, the church is covered with wooden panels and shingle roof. Pyramidal roof is finished with a poppy –heads with richly decorated forged crosses. The bottom part of the narthex, of the nave and of the sanctuary is vertically covered with boards. The main tower has two parts, getting narrower upwards. It is covered with boards and panels. In the house – top are acoustic holes of an interesting shape. Three bells are hanging in the tower, the oldest being from 1759. The areal of the church is surrounded by wooden fence with a shingle roof and an entrance gate of an almost circle ground plan.

Iconostasis is unique and special because it is the only iconostasis painted from both sides. On the backside of the original iconostasis from the 17th century a present iconostasis was painted in the 18th century. In 1968 was the icon of Christ the Teacher longitudinally split into two parts. The back side with the icon of St. Paul and another disciple is now placed on the southern wall of the nave. Because of possible irreversible damage to the iconostasis, there were no other icons being separated.

The iconostasis is of four rows displayed on four levels. Northern deaconal doors have on their linings depicted St. Lawrence and St. Vincent. Central royal doors having two wings are richly gilded and carved. They are adorned with six medallions, two icons showing the scene of the Annunciation to the Mother of God and four showing the Evangelists. On linings of the royal doors are depicted St. Basil the Great and St. John the Chrysostom, above them in the upper part is shown God the Father.

The first and main row contains following icons: The Baptism of Christ – The Epiphany, The Mother of God with Jesus on her hands, so called Hodegetria, Christ the Teacher and St. Nicholas, the patron of the church. An iconography rule to depict St. Nicholas as a patron of the Byzantine church on the first icon from the left is usually observed. Only exception is in a case, when a church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. In such a case, the icon of St. Nicholas is transferred to a place of the patron feast icon, and on its place is depicted St. John the Baptist as a patron of the Archeparchy of Prešov. In this case is on left depicted St. John the Baptist when baptizing Christ in the Jordan. On stands below the main row are depicted icons of St. Michael the Archangel and of Saint Nicholas.

The second row contains twelve icons of the liturgical year with the icon of the Last Supper in the middle. The third row contains icons of the holy apostles. In the middles is located the icon of Christ the High - priest. The fourth row contains six medallions, each showing a pair of figures of the prophets of the Old Testament. In the middle of the row is an icon of Christ on the cross. The iconostasis is of mixed baroque – rococo ornamental style.

The main altar behind the iconostasis is of baroque style, with an older image of the Crucifixion. In the bottom part of the altar is also the icon of Christ falling under the cross. Precious is also the fresco from the 18th century depicting the Last Judgment and the Crucifixion. The iconostasis and the frescoes were renovated for the last time in 1995. The church underwent renovations in 18th century, then in 1902, after the war in 1945 and for the last time in 2004 – 2008.

On July 7th 2008 was the church in Bodružaľ, together with eight other wooden monuments, thanks to their unique universal value inscribed under the title “Wooden churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian range” among the UNESCO world heritage monuments.


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