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Wooden Church at Nova Sedlica, Slovakia

This church has been relocated to Humenne, Slovakia, to a outdoor Folk Museum.

Nova Sedlica Church Description and Photographs from my 2001 Trip

Nova Sedlica Web Page

Text from "Drevene Kostoly, Vychodneho Ritu Na Slovensku", describing the architectural detail:

Nová Sedlica, Gumens'kyi District

(Editor’s note: This text was written one year before the church building was relocated to the Skanzen in Humenne in 1972)

Archangel Michael Church of Byzantine-Slavonic rite was built in 1764. It is situated on the east slope over the village. There is a cemetery near the church. In this cemetery wooden grave markers sometimes can be still seen. (Editor’s note: none were seen in 2001) The timber building of the church consists of three segments. There is the sanctuary, the nave and the babynets (babinec/women’s room). The building was constructed on a very high stone foundation. The sanctuary with its polygonal perimeter is covered with timbers on all sides so that it looks like tabernacle, made of timbers.  It appears simply as a smooth ceiling. The sanctuary is lighted from three sides through the small rectangular, almost square windows. It has a two-sided sloped, shingled roof, and on the east side of there is a hip from where a small tower rises. There is a simple decorative forged iron cross on the top of the tower. The nave is separated from the sanctuary by the iconostas. The nave is square. It is covered with the tabernacle, made of timber. Nearly in the middle of the nave there is a connecting woodblock. The woodblock ends are oriented to the north and south directions. Another woodblock, which is also used to lessen thrust, is situated over the balcony and serves as a railing.  As in other wooden religious structures, we can see an interesting and well thought-out device. It helps to lower and raise the chandelier for replacing the candles. This device was constructed, using the principle of the balance beam. With the help of this device the folk craftsman found a good solution for the vertical movement of the round chandelier, making it possible to move it freely within the nave. There is a balcony in the west part of the church. The balcony is on the overhang. One can reach the balcony from the nave by the wooden staircase. The space of the balcony is a natural extension of the first floor, the space that is under the tower. The floors (nave or babinec) have the same level. They are connected by a large cut in the west wall. There is a big projection of the cover of the nave that is supported by the mighty combined wooden beams that were hand carved. They project stepwise out into the yard. The upper beam attaches to a beam of the roof structure. In spite of the fact that the nave has almost a form of a quadrangle and the base of tabernacle top is also a quadrangle, the next projection is octagonal and from it harmoniously the last projections appear, which completes the tabernacle covering in the form of an octagon.

The longitudinal orientation of the building finds its reflection in the almost square woman's part (babynets/babinec) with a smooth ceiling. On the exterior the peculiarities of the building architecture are originally accented with two main tendencies: the expressive horizontal one, which is conveyed with the compact overhang which passes around the construction twice at different levels; the vertical one, which appears outside in three gradually rising small towers. Between the two lines of the under-roof space the timber walls are covered with shingles that are vertically put and decoratively curved. The vertical walls of the timber octagonal building over the nave also are covered with shingles, put vertically and carved decoratively. The part of the tower, which rises over the church, has the vertical planking and lyshtv (Ed. Note: Narrow wood strips) at the joints. It is separated with the square holes of the resonator (Ed. Note: belfry) and is completed with the onion like top with the bulky lamp and the simple vertically planked tabernacle eaves on the polygonal basis and the small well-proportioned oblong onion like top with the simple iron cross. The entrance portal in the west wall of the woman's part (babynets/babinec) is right-angled and the upper block has been made in the form of stylized saddle like end of the late Gothic portal. There is a date, carved on it. It says the year when the building had been built: 1764. Like the building, the portal makes a monumental impression, which is stressed by its size.

 The dominant internal decoration in the church is the baroque iconostas, made in the middle of the 18th century. It was made in the form of a formal style in accordance with the iconographic requirements. The wooden throne (base) of the main altar is painted on the four sides (Moses with the Ten Commandments, Isaac's sacrifice, the execution of St. John, the symbolic Voice of the God in Flames). There is a baldachin (canopy) over the altar, made in the old Christian style. The baldachin is on four columns, enlaced with vines. There is an icon of the Coronation of Our Lady on the decorative wall of the altar. The altar is made in baroque style of the middle of the 18th century. There are also some other icons behind the altar in the altar room (sanctuary). These icons are two images of Our Lady, made in the middle of the 18-th century and Christ Giving Blessings dating from the middle of the 18-th century. There are also other fragments of the interior in the Nave. These are the image of the archangel Michael dating from the middle of the 18th century, which is set in a luxuriously ornamented frame (Rokail); the icon the Annunciation dating from the 18th century was made in the form of a small altar with the pilasters, decorated with the vine tentacles. Golgotha (Calvary) and other scenes, which illustrate the Golgotha tragedy, situated on the north wall of the Nave, are worth attention. The pictures, dated from the year 1843, are situated in the following order: there are three large compositions, hung one over the other in the center ("Golgotha" is on the top, "Christ falling down under the weight of the Cross" is below the "Golgotha", the large narrative scene "Christ in front of Pilate" is at the bottom). There are six other pictures near the central ones and these pictures are situated in the chronological order ("The Placing of the body into the Coffin", "The Deposition", "Washing Feet on green Thursday", "Christ on the Olive Hill", "the Lord's Supper", "The Betrayal of Peter",  "Flagellation", "Nailing on the Cross", "Christ appearing before the Jewish people", "Christ is in front of Kayaf " (Ed. Note: “Caiaphas” was the high priest who condemned Jesus to death.), "The Coronation with the Thorn", "Christ is in front of Pilate"). Some of the scenes are painted in the simple narrative manner by the folk master. There is an icon "Day of Judgment” under the balcony; it was painted on the wood in the 17th century. It was made in accordance with the old traditions though the style of some portraits and scenes are archaic and reminiscent of old patterns. The fragment of the image "De Jesus" also dates from the 17th century.  It is only a fragment but it is very valuable. The Image of the Saint Michael also originates from the old interior of the wooden church. The picture is painted on wood and dates from the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17-th century. There is a bell on the tower, which dates from the year 1811.


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Last Update: 15 November 2020                                                    Copyright © 2003-2021, Bill Tarkulich