Wooden churches

03. Hunkovce

The wooden Greek Catholic church of the Protection of the Theotokos, 18. stor., NKP 


The wooden Greek Catholic Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Hunkovce is in the middle of the village on a tiny hill on the cemetery, surrounded by trees.

Many unique wooden churches were created in the central and eastern part of the Carpathians, being specific example of the sacred art of the Eastern Christianity. These churches reflect on one hand the simplicity and the poverty of the people of the region, on the other hand they confirm the firm hope and the trust, that one puts into his God.

According to recent researches, the church in Hunkovce dates back to the end of the 18th century. It is divided into traditional three parts. The first is the narthex, located under the main tower. Originally it was a place reserved for catechumens or penitents.

Next part of the church is the nave that is attached to the narthex. It is the largest space of the whole church. Here the faithful gathers for services. It represents the Church in pilgrimage, Christians living here on this earth.

The third and the most important part of the church is the sanctuary. It represents the heavenly kingdom, and thus the Church already glorified. The sanctuary is separated from the nave by a high wall with images, called also iconostasis. The iconostasis is however missing in this church. The icons, traditionally depicting the Christ, the Mother of God and the saints are to be for us, faithful in the nave, an example and help in order to pass into the joy of the life to come, represented by the sanctuary.

The church has three parts, three spaces and three towers. It is built on a low stony sustaining wall. The church is of a log structure. The whole body of the church is vertically covered with wooden panels and boards. The tower, rising from a terrace roof and getting narrower upwards is of a pillar structure. It is widened in its upper part, thus suggesting so called cabinet. Nowadays no bell is hanging in the tower. The tower has a low, pyramidal roof. Above the roof is a poppey – head, blinded lantern, tiny roof and a small onion dome. On its very top is a double – barred decorated cross with a tiny lunette.

The nave has on the southern side two windows, located above its parapet. The roof of the nave has a shape of a tent and is divided into two parts. The roof above the sanctuary is pyramidal. The tops of the towers above the nave and sanctuary are similar to that above the main tower. Chopped shingles cover the whole church structure. 

The operational core of the church – its iconostasis, the altar and other parts of its former interior are now missing from the church. After renovations in 1922, the church was supposed to be sold in 1935 and transferred to the Ústí nad Orlicí, and the money obtained was supposed to serve for construction of a new church. During the battles of the 1944, it was seriously damaged and then renovated in 1947.

In 1957 there were still some icons from the middle of the 18th century in the church of Hunkovce (St. Michael the Archangel, Christ giving blessing, Pokrov – The Protection of the Mother of God), but now their fate is unknown to us. Icon of the Savior “not made by human hands”, the work of the Jakub Zesi, from 1671, is now in the collection of the Museum of Šariš in Bardejov.

In the iconography collection of the Museum of Šariš in Bardejov are also other icons from Hunkovce: Ss. George and Theodore from approximately 1670 – 1700, St. George with a dragon from the 17th century, St. Theodore Stratilat, dated between 1630 – 1650, The Mother of God, approximately from 1780 – 1800. All these icons were acquired by the museum already in 1906. Otherwise, they would be surely lost nowadays.

In 2010, as a part of the project Preservation of the wooden churches on the International Wooden Road there were changed the shingle roof and also wooden boards on the coat of the church.


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