The Wooden Churches of Slovakia

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August 21st 2009
Published: August 21st 2009
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Wooden Church in BodruzalWooden Church in BodruzalWooden Church in Bodruzal

The Slovak Greek Catholic Church in Bodruzal from 1658.
After finishing my class in Poland, I headed back to Slovakia. Sylvia and her family came to Lublin to pick me up. After one day back in Roznava, Sylvia and I headed to Presov, Slovakia so I could attend a research conference on religious geography in Europe. The conference went well and on the third day, we had a small group tour of some of the most important religious architecture in Northeast Slovakia. This region has a group of small wooden churches that were placed on the UNESCO World Hertiage List last summer while I was here. These churches are unique in the world for their architecture, construction, and in a few cases, for the specific denomination that uses them. The Slovak Greek Catholic Church is a very small Eastern Rite Catholic Church that exists in this region of Slovakia. They use Eastern Rite rituals during their service and to most, would look like Greek or Russian Orthodox, however, they recognize the Pope and are thus in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This is particularly interesting because they are one of the very few Catholic minority churches which is allowed to have both married and celibate clergy. Only celibate clergy
Wooden Church in Nizny KomarnikWooden Church in Nizny KomarnikWooden Church in Nizny Komarnik

The Greek Catholic church in Nizny Komarnik was rebuilt three times. The first two were destroyed in World War I and World War II.
are allowed to become bishops, however.
Several of the wooden churches were built and are used by Slovak Greek Catholics. A few are Roman Catholic, and the remaining are Lutheran and Greek Orthodox. They are made either mostly or completely out of wood. In some cases, this was for a religious reason. Nails were forbidden on the basis that they were the tools of Jesus' crucifixion. In other cases, wood was used for financial reasons, as wood was a much less expensive building material. Some of these churches are from the 17th century, while others are reconstructed after being destroyed in either World War I or II. This region of Slovakia was the site of some of the heaviest fighting of World War II. The Battle of Dukla Pass was fought nearby. During the battle for Dukla Pass alone, there were over 70,000 casualties. We visited both the German cemetary in Svidnik as well as the Czech, Slovak, and Soviet cemetary and war memorial. We also saw some World War II Soviet equipment at a nearby museum. Finally, we stopped through the city of Bardejov, which had one of the best preserved town centers in Slovakia and is also a UNESCO site.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Wooden Church in LadomirovaWooden Church in Ladomirova
Wooden Church in Ladomirova

The Ladomirova Greek Catholic Church was built in 1742.
Wooden Church in HervartovWooden Church in Hervartov
Wooden Church in Hervartov

This wooden church is one of the few Roman Catholic wooden churches that exists. It is also the oldest surviving wooden church in Slovakia and one of the oldest in the world. It was built in the the middle of the 1400s.
Hervartov TriptychHervartov Triptych
Hervartov Triptych

The Hervartov wooden church altarpiece. It is a triptych that was reconstructed after it was realized in the 1960s that pieces of it were scattered all over the church. It is possibly from the 16th century.
Wooden Church InteriorWooden Church Interior
Wooden Church Interior

The interior of a Greek Catholic Church. The iconstasis is typical of Orthodoxy, but this is still a Catholic church. The altar is through the middle gate and only the priest is allowed inside.
Soviet MonumentSoviet Monument
Soviet Monument

A Soviet War monument commemorating the casualties of the Battle of Dukla Pass.
Greek Catholic CathedralGreek Catholic Cathedral
Greek Catholic Cathedral

The Greek Catholic Cathedral in Presov, Slovakia. The center of Slovak Greek Catholicism.
War MemorialWar Memorial
War Memorial

The World War II Soviet war memorial.
Soviet T-34Soviet T-34
Soviet T-34

Me with a Soviet T-34 tank used in the Battle of Dukla Pass.

The Basilica of St. Giles on the main square in Bardejov.
Bardejov, SlovakiaBardejov, Slovakia
Bardejov, Slovakia

The main square of Bardejov, which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

A goat hanging out on the fence of an original Rusyn house from the 16th century.

25th August 2009

Brett, I really enjoy your blog entries. How nice that all your education is one big vacation. ha! Keep the blogs coming.
2nd April 2011
Wooden Church in Ladomirova

My Ancestral village/church
We visited Ladomirova app 10 years ago, Unfortunately we couldn't get into the church. It was locked and the priest was away in Bratislava. We took videos of the graveyard showing many graves with our names LADOMERSZKY.
25th September 2011

thanks !
hey thanks for the pics ....i like learn about other churches and religions so thanks ^.^

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