Reconstruction and Relocation of the Wooden Church from Mikulášová
Open-air museum at Bardejov Spa
Greek-Catholic wooden church, built in 1730, which is devoted to festival of the Protection of the Holy Virgin, was originally located in the village of Mikulášová. A municipality of Mikulášová was first mentioned in historical documents in the year 1414. In fact it dates back even further, probably to the second half of the 14th century. In the 16th century, the village was a part of the Makovica manor, but at the beginning of the 17th century, the historical records proved its origin as a Ruthenian village of the manor. Until the year 1948, the official name of the village was Niklova.
During the years 1837 - 1838, the original architecture of the church has changed. Its rustic structure consists of three main sections - a square sanctuary, a nave and an extended room under the tower called “babinec,” where women sat during services. The external walls are covered with wooden slabs. The gradual roof over the each section of the structure is covered with shingles. The towers have at their top a poppy head shaped belfry with a platted cross. It is one of the few churches with painted exterior. There is a clock painted on the three sides of the square tower. But it was made only for decoration purpose.
Typologically, this object belongs to the south type of the church "lemkovske cerkvi". Similar sacral structures were built in the villages of Ondavka and Nižný Orlík, but they no longer exist. The church in Ondavka burned down in 1949 and the church in Nižný Orlík was destroyed during the World War II in 1944.
The interior of the Wooden Church from Mikulášová, the iconostasis and other individual icons are dated back to the first half of the 18th century, when the church was built. Most of them (The Pieta, altar-piece The Protection of the Holy Virgin from 1734, The Apostolic Row of the Iconostasis) are significant evidence of transformation of the Carpathian icon's character, influenced by local ethnic and religious circumstances, at the cultural East-West boundary.
Until the year 1926, the church was in service to Greek-Catholic Church and to the public. The inhabitants of the village had started to build a new church right next to the old one. From that time the wooden church was abandoned and started to deteriorate. Some of the smaller icons (for example Row of Festivals) were moved to the East-Slovakian Museum in Košice. The wooden church itself, after the warnings of the conservation specialists, was in 1931 relocated to Bardejov Spa. This happened under the leadership of the spa's physician Dr. Mikuláš Atlas, director of the Šariš museum in Bardejov and Bardejov's city mayor Gejza Žebracky and mainly Dr. Polák, who was a director of the East-Slovakian Museum in Košice. Relocation of the church into the spa's premises at Bardejov Spa was one of the biggest conservation activities in Slovakia during that time.
Texts: PhDr. Frantisek Gutek
Photo: Olga Nováková