Saris Museum icon of Saint Theodore the Stratilatis (?), from the wooden church of Hunkovce

There are still lots of old wooden churches in the surroundings of Bardejov (and Svidnik, where we are going next), many of them decorated, not only with frescos, but also with rich iconostases. An iconostasis is a wall of icons, and sometimes other paintings depicting bible scenes, which separates the church nave from the sanctuary. Prey for unscrupulous art thieves, but also at risk when churches burn down or get destroyed in any other way, not unimaginable with wooden churches. For over a hundred years the Saris Museum has collected the icons of abandoned churches, as well as some of the originals in still-existing churches, to make sure. they are protected. In the process they have built up an impressive collection, with the oldest icons going back to 16th century. To be honest, I wouldn’t have them at home, but I do find old icons fascinating, in the way they have been painted, with their often still bright colours.

So I took lots of pictures, of which a few have been included here.

a royal door, with six small icons

one of them in close-up, note the detail – this painting is not more than 10-15 cm high

‘the Last Judgement’, ca 1660-1680, from Church of the Assumption of the Lord, in Vysny Orlik

a detail of the same, right bottom

and another detail, lower centre

a detail from the left bottom

and two angels in the same painting, halfway to the right

another royal door, ca 1580-1600, from a wooden Church of the Virgin the Protector, in Kruzlov

one of the six icons from the door

and another one

one of the most famous icons of the museum, ‘Saint Nicolas and Scenes of his Life’, ca 1540-1560, from the wooden Church of Saint Demetrius, in Rovne

a detail of the painting, one of the scenes

and another scene, out of the same painting

a procession banner, ca 1750, from the wooden Church of Saint Luke the Evangelist, in Trocany

a lovely little icon, something called a mandylion, ca 1700-1730, from Bardejov

Saint Demetrius, ca 1640-1660, from the wooden Church of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, Nizny Mirosov

‘Christ tortured to Death’, ca 1640-1660, also from the wooden Church of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, Nizny Mirosov

and this is a painting of the wooden church at Nizny Mirosov, which was destroyed in WW II

a more recent painting, ‘Annunciation’, from ca 1833, from Church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin, in Ondavka

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