The Church of Budeşti, Josani is a magnificent example of the Greek Catholic cultural synthesis in Maramureş. The place of worship blends Eastern and Western traditions in perfect harmony. Basically, it is the largest wooden church in the UNESCO patrimony. The church was built in 1643, on a hill that dominates the village. The settlement was attested in 1361, when it was part of a Romanian Principality, attested in a diploma issued by King Louis of Anjou. The prosperity enjoyed by the locals allowed them to finance this particularly impressive construction. The length of the church is 18 meters, 8 meters wide, while the height of the tower is 26 meters. The church is rectangular, with a polygonal apse for the alter. The altar is also covered by a half-dome. The nave presents a barrel vault, while the narthex, supports the belfry tower with its massive beams. The spire of the tower is surrounded by four other towers, a unique architectural element among the wooden churches of Maramureş.
The inside keeps the chain mails of Pintea the Brave, one of the legendary outlaws of Maramureş, a real Robin Hood for the Romanians. Pintea the Brave died during the Kuruc War in 1703.
An unusual painting
The mural painting was done in two main stages. The first was made in 1762 by an artist with Polish origins, Alexander Poneholschi. The paintings with Jesus surrounded by the 12 apostles and Jesus the high priest, flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist are also outstanding The scenes are separated by painted coloured stripes. The altar apse was painted in 1812 by the artist Ianoş Opriş. These paintings were made in the Baroque style.
The "Coronation of Mary" icon is superb. The two parts of the culture illustrate perfectly how Western artistic trends, received via the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic, turned the old canons of Byzantine art. Inside the church we find a valuable collection glass painted icons, some from much older churches.
Travel info: The distance Bucharest - Budeşti is 600 kilometres. Between Cluj-Napoca and Budeşti are 157 kilometres.