Wooden churches


Wooden churches

Each part of Slovakia has hidden jewels, which are characteristic for that area and are incomparable with others. Wooden churches and belfries are such jewels of Eastern Slovakia, as they are unique and typical especially for this territory.

Those churches reflected the fragility and misery of man, but on the other hand reflected the unbreakable and unshakeable trust of man towards God, who is often the only and last hope in life. Man wanted to thank God as much as possible, and thus built a church as a place, where he could celebrate God properly and with reverence. Only humble and available material to be used by man for building was the wood. Whole interior and exterior, even the smallest details were made of this material. Curiosity of these buildings is the fact, that they were built without using any nails.

Majority of these wooden churches were built in eastern Slovakia on places, where Catholics of the eastern rite settled. Especially in the North of Slovakia are preserved till this day approximately 40 wooden churches and several belfries, many of them on the original spots; where they were built between 17th and 19th century. Luxuries and panache are not dominant in these churches, but rather simplicity and truth.

Each of these churches is unique and special with something else, but all of them have the interior division in three basic parts, narthex, nave and sanctuary. Dominant of each church is the iconostasis, which on one hand divides the nave and the sanctuary and on the other hand connects two worlds, earthly and heavenly ones. This is a “wall” consisting of several rows of icons, displayed according to an exact liturgical canon. Each icon is characterized by being painted on the wood and that it contains deep symbolic meaning. Symbolic is exactly the dominant thrust of the whole eastern rite, not only in painting the icons, but also by celebrating of individual celebrations and various devotions.

We can be justly proud on what our ancestors created and left for us. These cultural and spiritual monuments deserve our protection and care in order to pass this beautiful heritage of our fathers to our children.