A Hard Life






Churches for Sale

Upland Pastures


NOT all the wooden churches of the Verchovina were built originally on the spot, but they were all constructed on the principle of the hut. They consist of three sections in a row- -three square huts, each capped by a square lantern of several storeys diminishing towards the top and ending in a pyramidal roof. Their barn-like structure with the three humps looks fantastically clumsy, not unlike some prehistoric monster. And the monster has fins and scales, for, in addition to the main roof of small shingles which comes down very low, overhanging eaves protrude from each storey of the lanterns. The monster is obviously amphibious -as it must be in the wooded mountains where rain is frequent and heavy. The colour of these old churches is pleasing to the eye, the silvery grey of the weathered walls blending well with the rather darker shingles. Some churches in this region have certain baroque elements; we even find their three sections topped by bizarre, onion—shaped cupolas.


Similar churches can be found on the other side of the Carpathians, in the Ukrainian part of Galicia. Some two hundred years ago the inhabitants of one such Galician village found that their church had grown too small for them and they decided to sell it and to build a larger one. It so happened that the people of a small village in the Verchovina, who were very poor, needed a church. They made an offer to the Galicians, and as they got it fairly cheaply they bought the church and sent their carts to fetch it. The deal proved a lucky one for them. Their village became an important meeting place on Sundays and the number of its cottages, formerly a dozen or so, has multiplied several times over. But now this village has outgrown the church and the people would like to sell it and build themselves a new one.


They may find a purchaser. Several Carpathian churches have in fact been sold and shipped to America and Canada. They were bought for cash by those Carpatho-Ukrainians who had emi­grated to the New World and found a home there. Although they live more comfortably in their countries of adoption, they have not forgotten the country of their birth. Those who are unable to return are anxious to have something in their new country which would remind them of home. A wooden church from one of these mountain villages is a cherished souvenir.

(NOTE: I find this to be and EXTREMELY TALL TALE, hardly believable since I can find no evidence to support this claim. BT)

Last Update: 03 August 2002


East Slovakia Genealogical Research Strategies