St. Joseph the Confessor wooden church, Baia Mare, Maramures County, Romania

St. Joseph the Confessor wooden church, general view
St. Joseph the Confessor wooden church, general view

The wooden church is under the spiritual protection of St. Joseph the Confessor. It was built between 1999 and 2001, by wood-workers from Tara Lapusului. The initiative to build this church belonged to The Orthodox Theological Seminary “St. Joseph the Confessor”. It was intended that it should be the chapel for the students. As in the meanwhile, the Seminary changed its location, the project was taken over and completed by fr. Vasile Fodorut, and it became a parish church.

The church was consecrated by His Grace Justinian Chira, Bishop of Mararnures and Satmar, on 9th April 2001.

The church is small and it is organized according to the tradition of Maramures -wooden churches with a porch, a detached apse and a roof with two levels, over which there is an elegant bell-tower with a watchtower supported by twelve carved columns. The steeple is large and it has four sides, blunted at the corners. There is a cross on its top.

Detail of the ceiling vault
Detail of the ceiling vault

The porch is built on two levels. The lower level has six columns and the upper one has eight. They are joined together by a broad crown of wood, cut in simple arcades, with no decorations.

The roof with its double base rests on lugs cut in steps, over which there are the beams of the roof truss. The beams are extended, shaped like a curved sickle, according to the well-known traditions of the craftsmen from Lapus.

On the western side of the church there is an extra entrance door and another room joined to the apse for the priest.

The walls were painted by Arunel Tataran Pop from Baia Mare in a neo-Byzantine style. He preserved a local tradition, revealed in the way he covered surfaces with small and large medallions enclosed by tricolor frames. The scenes are connected by the themes we expect to see in an orthodox church.


The iconography is mostly as expected. However, there is a vast composition that draws one’s attention: it is Jesus sitting on a rock, surrounded by the Apostles with other people listening to His Words. In the background there is a barren landscape, full of rocks.

The lconostasis is made of coloured linden tree wood, carved in arcades, with pilasters, including the strips separating the tiers, organized around the centre. “The Last Supper” is painted between scenes

taken from the New Testament, arranged in pairs. Then, there is the scene with Jesus in

Principal icons on the Iconostasis
Principal icons on the Iconostasis

Glory, watched over by Mary the Mother of Christ and Saint Joan, and surrounded by the Apostles. In the upper part, there are the Three Angels who met with 1 Abraham and Sarah around a table, with a cup in front of them. To the sides there are the faces of Prophets and Hierarchs enclosed by medallions displayed asymmetrically. The last tier has Jesus on the cross, who is being watched over by His Mother Mary and Mary Magdalen.

The Holy doors have decorations of grape clusters, crosses and rosettes, displayed around medallions containing the four Evangellilsts.

The holy icons represent Jesus, His Mother, Mary, John the Baptist and St. Joseph the Confessor.



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