The wooden church in the village of Bârsana is a sublime expression of a Greek and Catholic cultural synthesis. This place of worship was built after the Union of the Romanian Church in Transylvania and Maramureş with the Church of Rome and marks the opening of this Byzantine spiritual space to the influence of the West. The church was built in 1711 and it is dedicated to "The Entrance of Virgin Mary in the Church." Initially, it served as a place of worship for a monastic resort built in the area, also known as the Monk's hair. The founder was the nobleman John Ştefanca and his sons, who wanted thus to thank the Creator for having them insulated from the great plague of 1710. In 1739, the wooden church was moved on a cemetery location, where they were the victims of the Tatars war in 1717 were buried. In 1806, the church was moved again, this time in the village, where it became a parish church. On this occasion, the nobiliary old church was added a porch with a two slopes roof and with carved pillars in the west of the church.
The community also hired the renowned painter Hodor Toader from Vișeul de Mijloc to have the church repainted. The Maramureşl painter placed his creation directly on wooden walls, smoothing the pieces using textiles, coated with lime. The painting is a particular expression of the the cultural synthesis of the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic, which opened the millennial Byzantine legacy to the Western influences. The painter exceeded the canons of Byzantine art, which he enriched with Baroque and Rococo. In the nave there are painted scenes from Genesis, while the narthex shows scenes of the Last Judgement. On the altar’s vault scene we find the scene of the Coronation of the Virgin, which is directly related to the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The wooden church underwent a series of interventions in 1929. Among other things, the windows were enlarged and the windows framing the door between the nave and the narthex were cut. The church has a rectangular plan, with a polygonal apse, in retreat. The vault has a polygonal section. The roof has a double gutter. Above the narthex is a belfry tower. The painting, iconostasis and the furniture make a particularly valuable ensemble.
The Royal Gates are built on top of winding lines onto which vines with leaves are wrapped. The Deacon doors are cut after the silhouettes of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The borders of the imperial icons are closed, finished at the top with baroque arches. This church illustrates in an impeccable manner Maramureş’ spirituality, a meeting place for the the Western and Oriental influences.
Travel info: The distance Bucharest - Bârsana is 557 kilometres. Between Cluj-Napoca and Bârsana are 189 kilometres.