The wooden Greek Catholic church in the village of Bodružal, located 50 kilometers east of Bardejov, belongs to one of the oldest and most preserved churches of eastern (Byzantine) rite in Slovakia. The church, built in 1658, is dedicated to its patron Saint Nicolas. The building, along with seven other wooden churches, was recorded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

The church has a three part structure with three towers and crosses. The main tower contains three bells, with the oldest dated to 1759. The outside area is surrounded by a wooden fence with an entry gate.

The interior of the church is dominated by a colorful iconostasis of a mixed baroque-rococo style. It is the sole iconostasis pained from both front and back. The reason behind this design is the fact that the front was painted in the seventeenth century and the back was painted later in the eighteenth. The younger eighteenth century four row iconostasis is used till today.

The first row contains icons depicting the baptism of Christ, Hodegetria, Christ the Teacher as well as the church’s patron Saint Nicolas the Bishop. 

The royal doors are splendidly decorated and contain six medallions each depicting one of the four Evangelists and two additional scenes from the Annunciation.

The law postulating that every iconostasis should have the icon of Saint Nicolas (the patron saint of the Byzantine church) placed as the first from the left can be exempted if the saint is a patron of a particular church itself. In such case the icon of Saint Nicolas is placed on the rightmost corner of the iconostasis and the original place at the left is occupied by the depiction of the eparchy’s patron.In this casethe eparchy’s patron is Saint John the Baptist found in the icon of baptism of Christ.

Pedestals positioned under the first row of the iconostasis comprise icons of Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Nicolas the Bishop. The second row contains icons depicting the major twelve liturgical feast days. The middle of the row is divided by the icon of the Last Supper.

The third row consists of icons depicting the twelve apostles. The middle of the row is filled with the icon of Christ the High Priest. 

The fourth row is composed of six medallions each depicting two figures of the Old Testament Prophets. The middle of the row holds the icon of Christ on the Cross.

The main baroque altar located behind the iconostasis contains a painting of Crucifixion and another painting of Christ fallen beneath the Cross. An additional relic of the church is an eighteenth century wall painting in the nave of the church depicting the Last Judgment and the Crucifixion.

The church was damaged during the Second World War. The building underwent several restoration attempts – during the eighteenth century, in 1902, right after the end of the war in 1945 and most recently in the timespan 2004 – 2008. The iconostasis and the wall paintings were restored in 1995.

The mass is held every third Sunday of a month at 11 AM.



Translated by:
Mgr. Samuel Beňa, M.A.


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