Ruthenian Churches

Ruthenian Wooden Church

Accompanied by Juraj, a professor of British and American studies, we headed to the Slovak version of the Andy Warhol Museum in Melizlaborce, about 80Km from Presov. Along the way he explained the Ruthenian, Orthodox, Greek and Roman Catholic forms of ritual and differentiated architecture between the churches. The Ruthenian people live within the Carpathian Mountains nestled in valleys and rolling hills above the flat farmlands along the river valleys that are mostly owned by Roman Catholics. The wooden Ruthenian churches take symbols from Russian culture indicating flame or light, the cross and the crescent. Each small wooden church near a village was surrounded by generations of headstones. Members of the village and church meticulously cared each for grave. Late Sunday afternoon the churches were vacant, no villagers were present. The cool November wind rustled the naked branches. The long autumn light illuminated the pitch colored wood in stark contrast to the blue and white-clouded sky high above the towers of the Ruthenian churches. There was a spiritual silence in the village and around the church. Each visit was a metaphysical experience.

On the way to Medzilaborce