CUPSENI, the small church, Maramures County, Romania

Cupseni wooden church general view
Cupseni wooden church general view

The village was recorded in 1584, as part of Lapus area, former domain of Ciceu Fortress that was owned by the Princes of Moldavia.

This wooden church, whose patron saints are the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel is known by the villagers as ”the small church”. It was brought from Peteritea around 1847. The church is probably much older, dating back to 1733. It is distinguished from the other church in the village by its small size and the shape of the roof and steeple, with hidden watchtower. The parapet is made of vertical boards cut at their bottom in the shape of a trident. The spaces of the arcades are covered with a gratin made of thin wooden boards.

The interior painting is well preserved. On the back of the pronaos there are scenes with:

Cupseni wooden church detail
Cupseni wooden church detail

“Adam’s Temptation”, “The Banishment from Heaven”, The sun and moon with human features, a two-headed golden eagle and two crosses formed by four circles framed by squares.

”The Trinity”, ”Elijah’s Ascension”, “Jacob’s Ladder” and scenes from The Apocalypse are painted in the nave.

On the vault of the Sanctuary, Mary’s face is painted. She is surrounded by paintings of angels and Prophets, Abel’s and Abraham s Sacrifice Saints Constantine and Helena, and Melchizedek. Hierarchs and Archdeacon Stefan are painted on the walls.

The Iconostasis has two rows. Jesus and the twelve Apostles are standing under the arcades of the temple, painted above the Holy Doors. The second row shows Jesus on the cross; guarded by John and Mary his Mother; with her sister and Mary Magdalena. The two

Cupseni wooden church detail
Cupseni wooden church detail

thieves are also painted there.

The colors used: sky-blue, brick red and grey are gentle to the eye. The style and the decorative elements imitate the ones found in other churches, and clearly indicate that the painters were Radu Munteanu and Mihail Palcoviciu.

The Holy Doors are worth mentioning. They date back to the 17th century.

The most recent restoration took place in 1982. Both the roof and its base were re laced by skilled builders from Salistea de Sus in Maramures.



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