BUDESTI (Susani), Maramures County, Romania

The wooden church general view
The wooden church general view

The village was first mentioned in 1361. The wooden church was built in 1760, when it was also painted. The patron saint of the church is Saint Nicolas. The church is remarkable because of its size and the ingenious technical solutions in its construction, namely: the walls in tiers, the roof arranged in tiers, the extended corner-joints made in order to support the very flared roof, and the doubling of the upper sides of the walls on which the roof lies (the last beam is carved in a wolf’s teeth pattern the whole length of the eaves).

The roof is amazingly curved, having on its first half, a bell-tower with very large side archways and a gallery parapet hidden by vertical boards doubled at the corners and sharpened at the bottom. The steeple ends with a wrought iron cross. Unlike with the other wooden churches, the half-moon is situated at the bottom of the cross and not on top of it.

The entrance door is a genuine decorative gem. The entire entrance door is carved in the

The table of the forefathers
The table of the forefathers

‘twisted rope’ motif, completed by side crosses. This pattern and that of the paintings on the walls imitate the ones from the church in Josani, The characters and the scenes have roots in the folk tradition of the region. The costumes and the style of the paintings (resembling the local glass-painting of icons) prove this.

A special composition is ’The Creation’. Strangely enough exotic species are included in the painting: the tiger, the elephant, the camel, and others, as well as a mythical figure: a centaur with a bow and arrow.

The coloring and the naively arranged scenes as seen in ”Jesus Trial”, ”Jesus Carrying the Cross” and Jesus and the Vine are somewhat unique to this church. This last scene is rarely met with and definitely sends a Eucharistic message to the observer.

The Iconostasis has three levels separated by friezes carved in the shape of fir-tree branches bent towards the right, mingled with flowers pictured as crosses.

The apse
The apse

The most important scenes are grouped in the middle of each level, while on the sides there are medallions identified by their by Slavonic inscriptions, as required by Byzantine iconography. Most probably the painter was one of Alexandru Panehalschi’s apprentices as some left-handedness can be observed in the painting of these.

The icons are similar in shape and size to those from Josani.

The Holy Doors are beautifully carved with floral motifs. Scenes from the Annunciation are painted at the top, little rectangular icons portraying the four Evangelists at the bottom.


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